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    Erdogan, Qatari emir discuss ways to resolve Gulf crisis

    Updated: 07 25 , 2017 14:09
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    DOHA, July 24 -- Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a meeting on Monday to discuss ways to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.

    Erdogan arrived from Kuwait on Monday at the last leg of his two-day Gulf tour, which had also taken him to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

    The two leaders discussed the efforts being exerted to resolve the standoff between Qatar and the Saudi-led quartet through dialogue and diplomatic means, Qatar's state-run news agency QNA reported.

    They praised the mediation efforts made by Kuwait, which has been playing the role of mediator since the crisis began on June 5.

    The Saudi-led bloc, which also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade on the rich Gulf nation, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Qatar has strongly denied the charges.

    During their meeting, Erdogan and his Qatari counterpart discussed the Qatar-Turkey joint efforts in the fight against "terrorism and extremism", QNA reported.

    They also talked about enhancing strategic cooperation in the spheres of defence, trade and investment.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was accompanying Erdogan during the visit, said that Ankara was trying to organize direct talks between the two sides to end their feud.

    He said holding direct talks is "the most appropriate way" to resolve the crisis, adding that he hoped that there will be an opportunity for such talks soon.

    During his meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Sunday, Erdogan said Saudi as a key player in the blockade against Qatar, will have to play the biggest role in solving the diplomatic row.

    No apparent results were achieved during Erdogan's Gulf tour, which came in the wake of the visits to the Gulf by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

    Turkey has publicly sided with Qatar, a major economic and defense partner, since the crisis started. It has provided food aid to Doha, while deploying troops in a military base in Qatar to show its support.

    The Saudi-led bloc has demanded for the closure of the Turkish military base, but was rejected by Qatar.

    Signs of easing of the crisis have emerged recently after Tillerson's visit, as Qatar has revised its counterterrorism law last week.

    In a national address made on Friday, Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim said Doha was open to dialogue to resolve the disputes with the Saudi-led bloc if his country's sovereignty was respected.

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