US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Qatar today for talks on the Gulf diplomatic crisis as leaks of secret agreements between regional powers triggered fresh tensions.
Hopes of a resolution to the five-week crisis seem increasingly remote as Tillerson's arrival in Doha was overshadowed by the publication of confidential agreements between Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in which all sides had pledged to combat terror funding and avoid interference in other states.
Publication of the accords, dated 2013 and 2014, caused both sides in the deadlocked dispute to launch a fresh round of mutual accusations over ties to Islamist extremist groups.
Kuwait has emerged as the main mediator in the conflict between Qatar and a group of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, over allegations Doha was too close to both Islamist extremists and Shiite Iran.
Tillerson is due to meet Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha before returning to Kuwait later today.
Tillerson does not appear hopeful of an imminent solution to the Gulf crisis, the worst to hit the GCC since its establishment in 1981.
The US State Department has warned the crisis could last months.
"We've had one round of exchanges and dialogue and didn't advance the ball," said adviser RC Hammond.
"We will work with Kuwait and see if we can hash out a different strategy."
Kuwait, the United States and Britain issued a joint statement following yesterday's talks, appealing to the Gulf foes "to quickly contain the current crisis and resolve it at the earliest through dialogue," according to a statement cited by the KUNA news agency.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on June 5 announced sanctions, effective immediately, against Qatar over accusations Doha supported Islamist extremism and was too close to Iran.
The four states severed all diplomatic ties, suspended transport links with Doha and ordered all Qataris to return home within 14 days.
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