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Erdogan Ends Gulf Tour without Making Progress in Resolving Qatar Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine, is welcomed by Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha, Qatar, July 24, 2017. (Reuters)

Dammam – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described his trip to the Gulf on Tuesday as “productive and successful”, following two days of talks that appeared to have no immediate progress towards ending the Qatar crisis.

Erdogan left Qatar on Monday after two days in the Gulf trying to mediate the row among Arab states, but there was no sign he had made any progress.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting militants and terrorism threatening the security of the region.

Kuwait has attempted to mediate the dispute, so far without success and Erdogan met with Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, upon arrival in the country Sunday evening as part of his Gulf tour.

Erdogan expressed Ankara’s belief that Kuwait is key in solving the Gulf crisis and he previously stated his support for the mediation efforts of the emir.

Following his trip to Kuwait, he headed to Qatar where he met with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for two and a half hours at the Emiri court. The talks were followed by a luncheon banquet to honor the Turkish president.

The two officials discussed regional developments, specifically the Gulf crisis and efforts to contain and to resolve it through diplomatic means. The talks also covered joint efforts to combat terrorism and reviewed defense and economic cooperation.

In a statement released by Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, Ankara expressed its support to continue efforts to find a solution to the row through dialogue. He added that Turkey supports Kuwait’s mediation efforts.

“Moreover, the importance of acting in unity for the Muslim countries and respecting each other’s sovereignty was highlighted,” the statement said.

“Nobody has any interest in prolonging this crisis anymore,” Erdogan told reporters, adding that Turkey supports an immediate solution to the issue.

He announced that Turkey made necessary suggestions to the parties and will continue to do so, adding that Saudi Arabia has a large role in finding a solution to the crisis. He also added that Doha has made significant diplomatic efforts during the process.

“I hope our visit will be beneficial for the region,” Erdogan concluded.

His first stop on his Gulf diplomatic tour was in Saudi Arabia where he held separate meetings with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday.

Erdogan and King Salman discussed “efforts to combat terrorism and its sources of funding,” the Saudi press agency reported (SPA) without elaborating.

After his visit to Jeddah, Erdogan arrived in Kuwait for talks with its Emir.

The Turkish president was accompanied on his tour by a high-profile delegation that included Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan.

Meanwhile, Russia had expressed its readiness to help mediate, if approached, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced.

“We are interested in this crisis being overcome, taking into account mutual concerns and finding solutions which will be acceptable for all participants of this process,” the Russian top diplomat further said.