Washington – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cancelled his participation at next week’s Organization of American States meeting in Mexico to instead remain in Washington to focus on the crisis in the Arab Gulf.
The State Department said: “The secretary of state will continue his efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East region through in-person meetings and phone conversations with Gulf and regional leaders.”
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will represent the United States at the regional meeting scheduled for Monday to Wednesday in the resort city of Cancun.
Tillerson “has made more than a dozen phone calls and participated in several in-person meetings” in efforts to tamp down the crisis, the State Department said.
“The secretary will continue these efforts.”
Tillerson had held talks on Tuesday with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Wednesday night.
On Friday, he met with Qatari investment Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamed bin Khalifa Al Thani at the State Department.
The US official also held talks with his Omani counterpart Youssef bin Alawi on ways to resolve the diplomatic crisis with the backing of the Kuwaiti mediation seeing as it is the best way to avoid escalation.
A State Department official told Asharq Al-Awsat that Washington is trying to remind Qatar of the importance of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the need to comply with the demands of its neighbors.
So far, nine Arab and Islamic countries have severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar as the crisis entered its third week with no solution in sight.
Washington has called on Qatar to carry out a series of steps to achieve change in its political policies. It realizes that Doha does not have any other options but to comply with the demands of its neighbors.
The US shares Arab fears over Qatar’s behavior and its sponsoring of extremist individuals and groups.