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Gulf leaders up pressure on Qatar; Russia calls for talks.

Arab News Women walk past men at Souq Waqif market in Doha. (Reuters)

JEDDAH: As the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf entered its seventh day with Doha failing to gain support from major world powers, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani visited Moscow Saturday. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took a neutral stand and called for dialogue to resolve the crisis. He said: "We cannot be happy in a situation when the relations between our partners are worsening. We are in favor of resolving any disagreements through... dialogue." Riyadh, meanwhile, stressed that an immediate change of policy by Qatar is essential. "Fighting terrorism and extremism is no longer a choice, rather... a commitment requiring decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism regardless of its financier," the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) cited an official source as saying. Yousef Al-Otaiba, UAE ambassador to the US, told the official WAM news agency: "The next step is for Qatar to acknowledge these concerns and commit to reexamine its regional policies. This will provide the necessary basis for any discussions." Bahrain "stressed the necessity of Qatar's commitment to correct its policies and to engage in a transparent manner in counter-terrorism efforts," its official BNA news agency said. Meanwhile, the EU is talking to all sides directly involved in the diplomatic crisis with two messages: Avoid any further escalation and engage in a political dialogue, in particular taking advantage of Kuwaiti mediation efforts, said a top EU official. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has never known Qatar to give support to terror organizations. "They declare foundations established to provide different services as terror organizations. Something like this should not happen. I know those foundations. Until today I have not witnessed Qatar give support to terror," Erdogan said. The Turkish leader called for the "blockade" against Doha to be "completely lifted," urging Saudi Arabia to show leadership and encourage good relations in the region. In another development, Qatar hired John Ashcroft, the US attorney general during the Sept. 11 attacks, as it seeks to rebut accusations from US President Donald Trump and its Arab neighbors that it supports terrorism. - With AP, AFP, Reuters

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Jun 11, 2017
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