FILE PHOTO: Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, speaks during a news conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Doha, Qatar February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon
LONDON (Reuters) – Qatar and other countries have been talking to both Iran and the United States about de-escalation, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Sunday, urging both sides to meet and find a compromise.
“We believe that at one point there should an engagement – it cannot last forever like this,” he told reporters in London on Sunday. “Since they are not willing to engage in further escalation, they should come up with ideas that open the doors.”
Sheikh Mohammed said several countries including Qatar, Oman Iraq and Japan had been urging de-escalation with the two sides.
“All these countries are concerned what escalation could lead to,” he said. “There were attempts by Qatar and by other countries in the region to de-escalate the situation: we have been speaking to the U.S. and we have been talking to the Iranians as well.”
“What we are trying to do is really to bridge the gap and create a conversation between the two parties as escalation is not going to benefit anyone in the region,” he said.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States in recent weeks after Washington reimposed economic sanctions on Iran after pulling out of a big-power nuclear deal, and sending forces to the Middle East in a show of force to counter what U.S. officials called Iranian threats to U.S. troops and interests.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by William James