US mediators arrive in Abu Dhabi to discuss Qatar crisis
Gulf region veteran Anthony Zinni and state department official Timothy Lenderking began their mission in Kuwait on Monday
Retired US general Anthony Zinni and deputy assistant secretary of state for Arabian Gulf Affairs Timothy Lenderking arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning as part of a tour of the region to break the stalemate in the Gulf dispute.
The envoys landed in Kuwait on Monday with plans to visit the countries involved – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Qatar – and try to bring them to the negotiating table.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met with the envoys at Sea Palace.
Attending the meeting was US Ambassador to the UAE, Barbara Leaf and Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed among other dignitaries.
Kuwait has taken the lead in mediating in the dispute between Qatar and its four fellow Arab nations who accuse Doha of supporting terrorism and other policies that destabilise the region.
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The US ambassador to Kuwait, Lawrence Silverman, said Washington's deployment of negotiators reflected its concern.
“We want to see an end to this dispute as quickly as possible, for the sake of the region,” Mr Silverman said.
Mr Zinni, a widely respected and well-connected figure in the region, joined the American diplomatic team this month.
The team’s job is to “maintain a constant pressure on the ground,” US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said when announcing Mr Zinni's appointment on August 3.
Mr Zinni served as commander of the US Central Command between 1997 and 2000, a position that saw him cement US military relations with all the GCC partners.
A delegation of high-ranking Kuwaiti royal family members were sent across the region this week to deliver letters hand-written by Kuwait’s ruler in the latest bid to end the Qatar crisis.
The envoys –which included Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled and Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, minister of state for cabinet affairs –met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday to discuss bringing an end to the dispute.
The same officials met with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh on Monday to try and facilitate a "direct dialogue" between Qatar and the quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, Kuna said.
The four countries severed relations with Qatar on June 5 over Doha’s links to extremist groups. They have boycotted Doha and cut off trade and travel links.
Several high-ranking officials have attempted to resolve the dispute, including Sheikh Sabah, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Updated: August 10, 2017 02:38 PM