WORLD

Putin, Saudi king discuss Qatar crisis in phone call

PUTIN, SAUDI KING DISCUSS QATAR CRISIS IN PHONE CALL

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian King Salman discussed the diplomatic crisis surrounding Qatar Tuesday during a phone call, the Kremlin said.

According to Putin, the diplomatic rift in the Gulf in unfortunate as it disrupts the fight against terrorism and undermines Syrian peace initiatives.

"The heads of state exchanged views on the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa, touching upon the escalating situation around Qatar, which, unfortunately, does not contribute to consolidation of joint efforts in the Syrians reconciliation and the fight against the terrorist threat," a statement from the Kremlin said.

The statement also said that the leaders discussed the further development of Russian-Saudi relations in various fields, and that they had mutually expressed desire for intensified bilateral cooperation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for dialogue Saturday between Qatar and its neighbors in the Gulf, promising to help mediate the crisis after a meeting with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Beginning June 5, Saudi Arabia, and then Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, Maldives, Mauritania, United Arab Emirates, Yemen's internationally backed government and one of Libya's three governments cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations that the Gulf nation funded militant groups – charges Doha calls baseless.

Several other Muslim nations have also downgraded their diplomatic ties with Qatar.

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