The Russian foreign minister has urged a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia to negotiate with Qatar to end a bitter diplomatic dispute that has raised tensions on the Arabian Peninsula.
Sergei Lavrov on September 10 told his Saudi counterpart that “we have confirmed our position in favor of settling the disagreements via negotiations.”
Lavrov’s comments to Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a meeting at the Saudi port city of Jeddah were released in a transcript provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
According to the transcript, Lavrov praised the efforts of Kuwait to mediate the dispute.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have broken all diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, accusing it of financing regional terrorism and of having too close ties to the Arab states’ bitter rival, Iran.
Qatar has denied the accusations and has rejected a list of 13 demands set down by the Saudi-led coalition.
A day earlier, Saudi Arabia said it was breaking off any talks with Qatar, accusing the small Persian Gulf state of misreporting the content of a phone call between Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad and Saudi Crown Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
“Qatar knows what it has to do in order to end the crisis,” Jubeir said during a joint news conference with Lavrov in Jeddah.
“Doha has to respond to the list of our demands so that we can turn over a new page,” Jubeir said.
“We want clarity in the Qatari position, we want seriousness in finding a solution…[and] implementation of principles all countries support: No supporting terrorism, no welcoming unwanted guests, no spreading hate, no intervention in others’ affairs,” Jubeir explained.
The Arab coalition demands that Qatar cut its ties with Iran, end financial support for Islamic extremist groups, and shut down the Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera.
Lavrov’s efforts come days after U.S. President Donald Trump made his push to settle the dispute between the Arab countries, all considered strong U.S. allies.
Trump, who on September 7 met with the Kuwaiti emir and praised his mediation efforts, also said he would be willing to act as a mediator to the dispute.
Lavrov is scheduled to move on to Amman to hold talks with Jordanian leaders on September 11, with the civil war in Syria likely to be the main topic of discussion.