US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed developments in Syria and in the row between Qatar and other Arab states in a telephone call late on Saturday, Turkish foreign ministry sources said.
The call, held at Tillerson’s request, came after he on Friday urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to ease their blockade of Qatar, saying it was causing unintended humanitarian consequences and affecting the US-led fight against the Islamic State group.
No further details of the call were immediately available.
“I say it should be lifted completely,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday in a speech at a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul, referring to Tillerson’s comments on the blockade.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations with Qatar on Monday last week, accusing it of supporting radical Islamist militants and adversary Iran, which they consider an adversary — allegations Qatar says are baseless.
Several countries followed suit.
Erdogan vowed to keep supporting Qatar after his rapid approval of legislation on deploying Turkish troops there.
On Saturday, he told Bahrain’s foreign minister that the dispute should be resolved by the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Erdogan on Thursday also approved an accord between Turkey and Qatar on military training cooperation.
Both bills were drawn up before the dispute between Qatar and others erupted. Turkey has also pledged to provide food and water supplies to Qatar.
Turkey has maintained good relations with Qatar as well as its Gulf Arab neighbors. Turkey and Qatar have both provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and backed rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, Iran has sent five planes of food to Qatar, Iran’s national carrier said yesterday.
“So far five planes carrying perishable food items such as fruit and vegetables have been sent to Qatar, each carrying around 90 tonnes of cargo, while another plane will be sent today,” Iran Air spokesman Shahrokh Noushabadi said.
“We will continue deliveries as long as there is demand” from Qatar, Noushabadi added, without mentioning if these deliveries were exports or aid.
Three ships loaded with 350 tonnes of food were also set to leave an Iranian port for Qatar, the Tasnim news agency cited a local official.
Iran has also opened its airspace to about 100 more Qatari flights a day, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates banned Qatari planes from their airspace.
Additional reporting by AFP
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