Kuwait – Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson ruled out the possibility of any immediate progress for the crisis between the four countries and Qatar, before leaving Kuwait to Doha to try and bring an end to the crisis in the Gulf region and achieve progress in fighting terrorism funding in the region.
Johnson lessened the chances of a military escalation between Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt and Qatar, days after the four countries held Doha the responsibility for failing Kuwaiti mediation.
“There’s no possibility of a military escalation,” UK Foreign Secretary said.
“We are working, supporting our Kuwaiti friends to get an understanding of how to take forward a wider fight against the financing of terrorism not just by Qatar, but by all our friends in the region,” he added.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will fly to Kuwait on Monday as the US steps up efforts to end a crisis between a Saudi-led quartet of Arab countries and Qatar.
The State Department said in a brief statement Thursday evening that Tillerson will make the trip on Monday at the invitation of the emir of Kuwait.
Later on Saturday, Johnson traveled to Doha where he held two separate meetings with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Sheihkh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman.
They discussed the Gulf crisis as well as ways to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation between Doha and London.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Egypt issued a joint statement blaming Qatar for undermining Kuwait’s attempts to resolve the dispute, saying that Doha “leaked the list of demands, in order to thwart the efforts of the State of Kuwait.”
The statement also added that Qatari government’s rejection of the demands submitted by the four countries, reflect Qatar’s connections to the terrorist group and that it continues its quest to undermine security and stability in the Gulf and the region and to intentionally harm the interests of the peoples of the region, including the Qatari people.
Johnson held a meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Foreign Secretary Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah. He reiterated UK’s support to Kuwaiti efforts to broker a solution to the row in the Gulf.
“These talks underline the UK’s strong support for Kuwait’s mediation efforts, and I urge all parties to play a constructive role in order to restore the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he stated.
“My impression is progress can be made and there is a way forward,” Johnson said in a televised interview reported by Reuters after meeting senior government figures in Kuwait which is attempting to mediate between the two sides.
“But I’m not going to pretend to you now that it is necessarily overnight or this is going to be done in the next couple of days,” he said.
Johnson expressed his belief that the blockade was unwelcome and hoped there will be a de-escalation.
In their statement issued on Friday, the four countries further emphasized that the 13 demands “aimed at fighting terrorism, preventing its sponsoring and combating extremism in all its forms in order to achieve global peace and to maintain Arab and international security.”
The four countries warned that it will take all necessary political, economic and legal measures as seen appropriate and in timely manner, in a way that will serve their rights, maintain their security and stability and protect their interests from the Qatari Government’s hostile policies.
The statement concluded that the Qatari people are an integral part of the Gulf and Arab system adding that the measures are directed at the Qatari government to correct its course.