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Turkey, Qatar can contribute to easing Iran tensions: Cavusoglu


The Ankara diplomat was previously in Oman and Kuwait, where he met the country’s rulers and commended them for his country’s mediation efforts in resolving the GCC crisis.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Thursday, during his third and final stop of a Gulf tour to discuss regional issues.

The meeting with Sheikh Tamim was the first since the Al-Ula Declaration which saw the end of the years-long GCC crisis.

In a later press conference with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Cavusoglu said both countries could contribute to calming Iran tensions in the region, especially with the new Biden administration in the White House.

“The tensions we experienced over the previous US administration withdrawing from the nuclear deal, and the embargoes, impacted the entire region. On this issue, especially as Turkey and Qatar, we can provide contributions, and we discussed these,” Cavasoglu said, according to Reuters.

Turkey’s foreign minister said both Ankara and Doha encourage Washington and Tehran to engage in resolving tensions through diplomatic means, urging joint efforts to reach the goal.

The statement also comes following remarks made on Wednesday by Qatar’s foreign minister, who called for a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, which former US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018, imposing stifling sanctions on Iran.

Read also: Qatar-Spain presser touches on Palestine, Iran and World Cup 2022

“Iran is a neighbouring state and what happens in the region reflects on us directly and the United States is a strategic ally and it’s important to not see any escalations,” he said.

“The State of Qatar is working on de-escalation through a political and diplomatic process to return to the nuclear agreement,” the FM said on Wednesday, according to state news agency QNA.

The 2015 nuclear deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPA], was signed between Iran and the P5+1 – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany – to limit Tehran’s nuclear weapon production in exchange for the lifting of sanctions on the country.

The new Biden administration recently started looking into a potential revival of the deal, though no announcements have yet been made public.

Analysts believe Qatar, which has offered to mediate between the US and Iran, can play a crucial role in calming tensions between the two states.

Return to normal

Cavusoglu’s visit on Thursday was seen as Turkey’s show of support for the recent GCC reconciliation, as well as efforts to reiterate its willingness to ensure peace and stability in the region.

“Restoration of relations between Qatar and the Gulf countries are a good thing, and we hope that relations will return to normal between the countries of the region,” said Cavusoglu at a press conference on Thursday.

Echoing the same sentiment, Qatar’s FM thanked Turkey for supporting the GCC reconciliation. 

He also expressed his gratitude towards the continuously growing relations between Doha and Ankara, noting the signing of 10 new deals at the sixth Strategic Dialogue meeting in November last year, increasing the number of joint declarations to 62.

Libya conflict

During the presser, the Turkish diplomat and Qatar’s foreign minister said they addressed various topics during the meeting, including issues concerning the region and beyond.

At the heart of the conference was the latest regional developments, including the outcomes of the 41st GCC Summit and the progress in the ongoing civil war in Libya.

“We value Turkey’s efforts in supporting the transitional process in Libya,” said Qatar’s foreign minister, commenting on the formation of the interim-Libya government prior to the December elections.

Turkey has been leading a military intervention in the second Libyan civil war, which began in January last year after signing a maritime memorandum with the Government of National Accord [GNA].

The military intervention aimed to put an end to attacks conducted by eastern Libya’s rebel commander Khalifa Haftar’s coalition. One of its key outcomes was successfully forcing Haftar’s brigades out of northwestern Libya.

Read also: Could Qatar’s strategic location help allay US-Iran tensions?

“We continue to support the brothers in Libya to meet the aspirations of the Libyan people,” added Qatar’s FM.

The two diplomats also tapped into the ongoing war in Yemen, where Cavusoglu expressed his willingness to end the conflict to end soon.

“[The war in] Yemen and Syria can only be solved politically and we share the same position as Qatar’s,” the Turkish foreign minister added.

Inter-Afghan talks

The stalled inter-Afghan talks were also one of the key areas of discussion between Cavusoglu and Al Thani.

The Turkish diplomat lauded Qatar’s role in hosting the talks between the Afghan government and Taliban as well as its mediation efforts between the two warring factions.

Doha hosted the inter-Afghan talks last September in hopes of ending years of war in Afghanistan, after the US and the Taliban reached a deal in February that stipulated the full withdrawal of American troops by May.

However, the talks have been stalled amid continuous escalations in Kabul, with the Taliban failing to fulfil its obligations of the US deal by continuing its attacks.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called on US President Joe Biden’s administration to slow down the withdrawal of its troops. The Pentagon also stated that the Biden administration will not commit to a full withdrawal this year.

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