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EghtesadOnline: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saudi Arabia’s leaders rebuffed his request in meetings Sunday to end the four-month isolation of Qatar.

Tillerson has taken the lead in seeking to end the dispute, which was sparked in June when a Saudi-led bloc of four countries imposed economic restrictions against Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism. He was in Saudi Arabia and Qatar this weekend as part of efforts to break the deadlock.

 

“I did in my meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ask him please engage in dialogue,” Tillerson said at a briefing in Doha alongside Qatar’s foreign minister. “There is not a strong indication that the parties are ready to talk yet. So we cannot force talks upon people who aren’t ready to talk.”

 

According to Bloomberg, Tillerson made clear in an Oct. 19 interview that the bloc -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain -- are responsible for the continued crisis because they’ve refused so far to talk to Qatar. He called on all sides to refrain from heated rhetoric and argued that the standoff was hurting U.S. and regional economic interests.

 

In September, President Donald Trump said he would be willing to serve as a mediator “right here in the White House” if the issue wasn’t solved soon. Asked why such an invitation hadn’t been extended yet, Tillerson said there was no point.

“There has been no invitation to the White House because it’s not clear the parties are ready to engage,” Tillerson said. “But we’re going to continue to work toward that dialogue and toward that engagement.”

 

Rex Tillerson Saudi Qatar crisis