U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Qatar for talks aimed at helping resolve the dispute between the Persian Gulf nation and its neighbors.

Tillerson traveled from Kuwait, which has been working to mediate the crisis, after meeting with Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.  

Tillerson also met with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Thani in the capital of Doha, whom Tillerson commended for “helping keep the situation from escalating any further.”

Sheikh Mohammad and Tillerson will discuss the crisis Tuesday before Tillerson addresses the issue “with other parties tomorrow.”

“I’m hopeful we can make some progress to begin to bring this to a point of resolution,” Tillerson said.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and others severed diplomatic ties and instituted a land, air and sea blockade of Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism.

Tillerson’s schedule includes a final stop Thursday in Saudi Arabia.

His senior communications adviser R.C. Hammond said the purpose of the trip is to explore where a possible resolution can be found.

Hammond said U.S. President Donald Trump has been very clear that his number one goal is to have all Arab nations do more to stop the financing of terrorism.  After his first trip abroad to Saudi Arabia, President Trump accused Qatar of supporting terrorism at the highest levels.  Qatar has denied this.

The Saudi-led group has given Doha a list of 13 demands, which includes calls for Qatar to downgrade its relations with Iran and close the Qatari-state-funded al-Jazeera news network.  Qatar has said it is willing to negotiate, but will not give up its sovereignty.

Tillerson said “I think Qatar has been quite clear in its positions and I think those have been very reasonable.”


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