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Tillerson renews Gulf crisis talks in Saudi Arabia

23 October 2017, 05:33 | Melanie Burgess

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday demanded that Iranian "militias" leave Iraq at a press conference in Riyadh, where the US diplomat is holding talks with top Gulf officials.

While Trump had initially appeared to support Saudi Arabia in isolating Qatar, he has since called for mediation and predicted a rapid end to the crisis.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq are the largest and second largest producers of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Tillerson also aimed to persuade the feuding Gulf states to open dialogue, according to U.S. officials, months into a crisis that has seen Qatar isolated from its neighbours.

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"There is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet", he added. "So we can not force talks upon people who aren't ready to talk".

The Gulf crisis began when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE as well as Egypt and other countries cut ties with Qatar in June 2017 over its alleged funding of terrorists and terrorist organizations.

In September, President Donald Trump said he would be willing to serve as a mediator "right here in the White House" if the issue wasn't solved soon. He called on all sides to refrain from heated rhetoric and argued that the standoff was hurting USA and regional economic interests. Asked why such an invitation hadn't been extended yet, Tillerson said there was no point.

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