Qatar calls on Gulf nations to engage in diplomacy with Iran
Doha is ‘hopeful’ that new talks between Tehran and Gulf Arab states will take place.
Qatar is urging Gulf nations to enter into a dialogue with Iran and has offered to broker negotiations after a three-year blockade on Doha was recently removed by its Arab neighbours.
Qatar, which shares a major gas field with Iran, has for years called on Gulf Arab states to enter talks with Iran, which they accuse of fomenting unrest in the Middle East, accusations Tehran denies.
Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Bloomberg TV in an interview broadcast on Monday that his government is “hopeful that this would happen”.
“We still believe this should happen. This is also a desire that’s shared by other GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries [for talks with Iran],” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Iran’s arch-rival Saudi Arabia has not publicly indicated any willingness to engage with Iran.
Instead Saudi Arabia insisted this month’s rapprochement with Qatar meant the Gulf family would be better able to combat “the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme”.
Commenting separately on potential US-Iran negotiations now that the Trump administration is on its way out, Doha’s foreign minister said Qatar would facilitate those discussions if asked and support whoever is chosen to do so.
“We want the accomplishment, we want to see the deal happening,” he said of potential talks between Washington and Tehran. “Wherever it is, whoever it is conducting this negotiation, we will support them.”