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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Boris Johnson to hold talks on Qatar boycott

The British foreign secretary will meet with representatives of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait

Brexit campaigner and former London mayor Boris Johnson is flying to Saudi Arabia in an attempt to mediate the Gulf dispute. Leon Neal / AFP Photo
Brexit campaigner and former London mayor Boris Johnson is flying to Saudi Arabia in an attempt to mediate the Gulf dispute. Leon Neal / AFP Photo

Britain's foreign minister Boris Johnson has flown to Saudi Arabia to begin a series of meetings to ease tension in what has become the Gulf's deepest rift in years.

He will talk with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as representatives from Qatar and Kuwait at a currently undisclosed date.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain broke diplomatic relations with Qatar last month. The boycott of Qatar is entering its second month and the countries have said they will take all necessary political, economic and legal measures to pressure Doha into falling in line with GCC policies.

Qatar continues to attempt to destabilise the region and refuses to cease its support of terrorism and extremism, the four Arab countries said in a joint statement on Friday.

"The Foreign Secretary will urge all parties to get behind Kuwait's mediation efforts, which the UK strongly supports, and work towards de-escalation and Gulf unity for the sake of regional stability," the British foreign office said in a statement.

"He will also discuss a range of security and bilateral issues with a particular focus on working together to address the common threats of extremism, radicalization and terrorism."

It said Johnson would urge all parties to support Kuwait's mediation efforts and "work towards de-escalation and Gulf unity for the sake of regional stability."

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Kuwait on Monday on a similar mission.

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