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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Iran's foreign minister meets Qatar's emir in Doha 

Mohammad Javad Zarif's visit comes after Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran in August amid a boycott over its links with terror.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their meeting in Doha, Qatar October 3, 2017.
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their meeting in Doha, Qatar October 3, 2017.

Iran's foreign minister held talks in Doha for the first time since the quartet of Arab nations imposed their boycott on Qatar.

Mohammad Javad Zarif met on Tuesday with Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim, after Doha restored full diplomatic relations with Tehran in August.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties in June with Qatar over its support for extremist groups and fostering ties with Iran.

In the days after the start of the boycott Sheikh Tamim spoke with the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on the telephone, inflaming tensions with other GCC and Arab countries.

The boycott cut off trade and travel routes to Qatar to pressure it to change its policy away from supporting extremists. In response, Iran, along with Turkey, have started ferrying supplies to the country.

"None of the regional crises have a military solution," Mr Zarif said at the meeting with Sheikh, according to Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency.

"All sides should give priority to regional initiations for restoring collective stability and security," Mr Zarif said.

Mr Zarif is also expected to meet Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi said "talks would focus on relations in the Gulf, economic co-operation and the latest developments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen."

Mr Zarif also gave an interview with the Qatari news network Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera Arabic has been at the centre of the Qatar crisis, with boycotting countries accusing it of giving a platform to Islamists.

On Monday, Mr Zarif met with Omani officials, including Sultan Qaboos, who has ruled Oman since 1970 and has served as an interlocutor between the West and Iran.

Topics of discussion with officials included the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, according to Iran's semi-official Isna news agency.

Qatar, along with other GCC countries, removed its ambassador from Tehran in early 2016 after an attack on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. The pullout was in solidarity with the kingdom.

Iran and Qatar have strong shared commercial interests in a massive offshore natural gas field, called the South Pars Field by Tehran and the North Field by Doha.