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Erdogan, Saudi King discuss Qatari crisis amid renewed mediation efforts
Last Updated: 2017-07-24 08:10 | Xinhua
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As part of Turkey's renewed mediation efforts, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Sunday to discuss the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the Saudi-led quartet.

The two leaders addressed bilateral ties and regional developments, in addition to the efforts being exerted to fight terrorism, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

Erdogan's Gulf tour, which will also take him to Qatar and Kuwait, came amid Turkey's new diplomatic offensive aimed at brokering an end to the Gulf standoff. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu conducted a Gulf tour to mediate the standoff early last month without achieving major results.

The Saudi-led quartet, which also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a blockade on the tiny rich Gulf nation.

They accused Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs, which was strongly denied by Qatar.

Turkey has publicly sided with Qatar, with which it has expansive economic and security ties, while criticizing the Saudi-led blockade as inhumane.

Earlier Sunday, Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul before leaving for Saudi Arabia that Turkey is seeking an immediate resolution for the ongoing diplomatic row in the Gulf.

"Nobody has any interest in prolonging this crisis anymore," Erdogan said.

Among the 13 demands put forward by the Saudi-led bloc included the closure of a Turkish military base in Qatar. Turkey has deployed a number of troops in the base recently in a move aimed at bolstering Qatar's defiance in face of sanctions and threat from its neighbors.

Ankara has refused to withdraw troops from Qatar, a move that has frustrated the four Arab countries.

But signs of easing of the crisis have emerged recently after the visit to the Gulf by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during which the U.S. and Qatar signed a deal on combating terrorism funding.

This addressed one of the core demands by the Saudi-led bloc, which has slammed Doha for financing and supporting a number of extremist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Hamas movement in Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Qatar has revised its law on fighting terrorism over the week, a move that was welcomed by the UAE as a "positive step."

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