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Rex Tillerson renews talks in new bid to ease Gulf crisis

Tillerson will also take part in the first meeting of a Saudi-Iraqi coordination council

AFP | PTI  |  Riyadh 

Rex Tillerson
Riyadh: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, holds Colt Henry, 11 months, as he poses for photographs at the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. AP/PTI

US Secretary of State Rex is to launch a fresh bid on Sunday to ease a crisis between and Doha, both allies of Washington, but without high hopes of a breakthrough.

Apart from the months-long crisis, Iran's rising influence in the is also expected to figure high on the agenda of America's top diplomat during talks in the two capitals.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and cut ties with and imposed an embargo in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and cosying up to

denies the charges and has rejected their terms for a settlement.

made an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the dispute during a trip to the region in July.

US President Donald Trump, after initially appearing to support the effort to isolate Qatar, has called for mediation and recently predicted a rapid end to the crisis.

But before he arrived at Riyadh's air base on Saturday, indicated there had been little progress.

"I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon," he said in an interview with financial news agency Bloomberg.

"There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage."

Aside from the Gulf dispute and Iran, the conflict in Yemen and counter-terrorism will also figure in his talks, the State Department said.

While in Riyadh, Tillerson will also take part in the first meeting of a Saudi-Iraqi coordination council.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is leading a top-level ministerial delegation at the meeting, in a sign of warming ties as Sunni-ruled seeks to counter Tehran's influence in Shiite-majority Iraq.

On the Gulf crisis, the goal will be to try to persuade the two sides to at least open a dialogue.

After holding a working dinner with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir on Saturday night, Tillerson was scheduled to meet other Saudi leaders Sunday before heading for

During his trip Tillerson is also to visit New Delhi in order to build what he said in a recent speech could be a 100-year "strategic partnership" with India.

Tillerson will stop in Islamabad to try to sooth Pakistani fears about this Indian outreach, but also pressure the government to crack down harder on Islamist militant groups.

First Published: Sun, October 22 2017. 17:05 IST