February 29, 2020 / 3:58 PM / 3 months ago

No breakthrough in Gulf dispute, Qatar foreign minister says

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a signing agreement ceremony between members of Afghanistan's Taliban and the U.S. in Doha, Qatar February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem al Omari

CAIRO (Reuters) - Talks on ending a nearly-three-year-old diplomatic dispute in the Gulf have produced “no breakthrough”, Qatar foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Saturday.

He told Al Jazeera his country hoped for a solution to the dispute, in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed political, trade and transport ties with Qatar in mid-2017 over accusations it had been supporting terrorism and cosying up to regional foe Iran.

But “efforts to reach a solution were not successful,” he said.

Qatar - which denies the accusations and says the embargo is intended to undermine its sovereignty - remains open to positive solutions based on respecting countries’ sovereignty, he said.

Six sources told Reuters this month that talks between Saudi Arabia and Qatar had broken down soon after they started, leaving in place the embargo on Doha that is hampering joint Gulf Arab efforts to counter Iran.

The discussions, which began in October, were the first hint of a possible thaw in the row.

Reporting by Hesham Abdul Khalek, Writing by Marwa Rashad, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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