>> The US Secretary of State has begun his four day trip to the Gulf, the aim, to find a breakthrough in the Qatar crisis. Four countries in the region have cut diplomatic and transport links with the tiny state. Accusing Qatar of financing extremist groups, something it denies, and siding with Iran, their arch foe.
Rex Tillerson's senior advisor said he'd use the trip to explore ways to end a stalemate and discussions. That after Qatar rejected 13 demands that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt issued as conditions for ending their sanctions. They included the closing of TV network Al Jazeera and a Turkish military base in Qatar.
Many see the blockade as a Saudi attempt to rein in Qatar's increasingly independent foreign policy. Now, Tillerson will hold talks with leaders in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. The US worries the crisis could affect its military and counterterrorism operations and increase Iran's influence in the region. Teheran has been supporting Qatar by allowing it to use air and sea links through its territory.
On Tuesday, the US, UK, and Kuwait urged all parties to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible through dialogue, according to Kuwait's state news agency.