July 7, 2017 / 4:07 PM / a month ago

Johnson arrives in Middle East to help ease Qatar tension

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting, London, Britain July 4, 2017.Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's foreign secretary Boris Johnson arrived in the Middle East on Friday to meet representatives from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in a bid to heal a rift between Qatar and other Arab states.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain broke diplomatic relations with Qatar last month and launched a drive to boycott the gas-producing state, which they accuse of supporting terrorism and allying with regional foe Iran.

"The Foreign Secretary will urge all parties to get behind Kuwait's mediation efforts, which the UK strongly supports, and work towards de-escalation and Gulf unity for the sake of regional stability," the foreign office said in a statement.

"He will also discuss a range of security and bilateral issues with a particular focus on working together to address the common threats of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism."

Reporting by Costas Pitas, editing by Andy Bruce

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