U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Tuesday with Qatari officials as he continued his tour of the region in an attempt to help defuse the monthlong rift between Qatar and its Arab neighbors.
“I think Qatar has been quite clear in its positions, and I think those have been very reasonable,” Tillerson said Tuesday.
On Monday, Tillerson and Mark Sedwill, the British national-security adviser, met with officials in Kuwait, which is mediating the crisis among its fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Tillerson travels next to Saudi Arabia, which is leading the blockade of Qatar.
In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of, among other things, supporting terrorist groups. They expelled Qatari citizens who lived in their countries and ordered their citizens in Qatar to return—in may cases separating families. They also cut all transportation ties with Qatar, which relies on supplies trucked in through its land border with Saudi Arabia.
Qatar, which denies the charges against it, turned to Iran and Turkey for support. The U.S. finds itself caught in the middle. Qatar is home to the largest U.S. military base in the region, and it’s from where the U.S. military strikes ISIS. The U.S. also has close ties to Saudi Arabia and other other countries involved in the blockade. Tillerson, who as CEO of Exxon developed close relations with Qatar’s emir, has called for the blockade to be lifted.