Turkey FM in Doha as UN 'alarmed' by Gulf crisis

Turkey FM in Doha as UN 'alarmed' by Gulf crisis
Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu called for dialogue to end the Gulf crisis, after meeting Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha on Wednesday.

3 min read
15 June, 2017
The Turkish foreign minister arrived in Doha on Wednesday [AFP]

Turkey's foreign minister held talks with Qatar's emir on Wednesday as the search for a diplomatic solution to the Gulf spat intensified and the UN voiced fears over growing humanitarian concerns in the region.

Mevlut Cavusoglu called for dialogue to end the crisis, after meeting Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha.

"The meeting discussed developments of the Gulf crisis and means of solving it in addition to reviewing the strategic ties between the two countries and aspects of developing them on all fronts," a statement on the Qatar News Agency said.

The reference to "all fronts" could refer to Turkey's military base in Qatar.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said Cavusoglu would travel to Kuwait on Thursday, before holding talks with Saudi King Salman in Saudi Arabia on Friday.

"This absolutely needs to be overcome," Cavusoglu told Anadolu in Doha after the talks, describing the current situation as deeply undesirable, especially during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

"This needs to be overcome through dialogue and through peace. Turkey will also make its contribution," he added.

Ankara is one of Qatar's strongest allies and earlier this week committed to deploying troops at its base in the emirate.

"Saudi Arabia has the potential and capability to solve this crisis as a wise state and big brother of the region and also as a major actor," Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

"We aim to involve all actors in this process."

Riyadh is one of several countries which has imposed a political and economic "blockade" on Qatar, in protest at Doha's alleged support for terrorist groups as well as over its ties to Iran.

The move has been backed by nations including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt and others.

Qatar strongly denies the charges and claims neighbouring countries are trying to interfere with its foreign policy.

The diplomatic push continued elsewhere, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who has described the decision by Gulf states to cut political and economic ties with Qatar as "inhumane" - expected to hold phone talks with US President Donald Trump in the coming days.

Erdogan's spokesman said a trilateral meeting between Ankara, Paris and Doha was also planned.

This is in addition to mediation efforts already launched by Kuwait's Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah.

UN 'alarmed'

Meanwhile, the United Nations' secretary general urged the Gulf countries to find a peaceful solution to the row.

In Geneva, concern surrounding the humanitarian situation grew Wednesday, with the intervention of the UN human rights chief.

"I am alarmed about the possible impact on many people's human rights in the wake of the decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, in his first comments on the crisis.

"It is becoming clear that the measures being adopted are overly broad in scope and implementation," he added.

Antonio Guterres expressed his "full support for Kuwait's efforts to de-escalate tensions and promote an effective dialogue", a spokesman said.

The planned talks follow discussions on Tuesday between Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Doha also announced that its navy was to take part in a joint naval exercise with US vessels, which arrived in Qatar on Wednesday.

The decision to isolate Qatar had led to fears that thousands of families in the Gulf would be split apart.

Amnesty International has warned of "heartbreak and fear" being suffered by ordinary people in the region and accused Saudi Arabia and its allies of "toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents".

Bahrain and the UAE have also banned expressions of sympathy for Qatar.

Qatar is receiving food deliveries from Turkey, Iran and Morocco among others.