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Qatar Urges ‘Serious Dialogue’
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Qatar Urges ‘Serious Dialogue’

Qatar's top diplomat called for a "serious dialogue" with Iran in the wake of its nuclear deal with world powers.

Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah made the comments on Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview with the AP.

Al-Attiyah spoke from a skyscraper office overlooking Doha a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry met with the six-member (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council in Qatar. Kerry's visit was aimed in large part at reassuring the Arab allies about the positive implications of the deal for the region.

The Persian Gulf states have welcomed the deal despite their differences with Tehran over regional issues.

Al-Attiyah said a "firm agreement between the major players and Iran" was the best way to resolve the nuclear dispute. And he suggested there was now scope to work with Iran on other issues too.

"We should have a serious dialogue with our neighbor, the Iranians, and ... lay down our concerns from both sides, and solve them together. Iran is our neighbor in the region. We have to live together," he said.

Qatar splits control of a vast underwater natural gas field with Iran. It has long positioned itself as a venue for mediating thorny regional conflicts, and it last week hosted a visit from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has made outreach to his Arab neighbors a priority.

But al-Attiyah cautioned that there were still major areas of disagreement.

More work must be done to build confidence on both sides, including on the issue of "interfering in other countries' internal affairs," he said.

Iran denies the allegations that it meddles in the internal affairs of regional states, stressing that it backs rightful aspirations of the people of the region.

"We are all in the (P)GCC working toward a good neighborhood. We want also Iran to take this approach as well, and only then we can have a fruitful dialogue," al-Attiyah said.

One major area of disagreement, he added, remains Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"We wish that Iran looked at Syria through the (eyes of the) Syrian people," al-Attiyah said.

Tehran says the Syrian people should decide their own fate, rejecting foreign intervention and militancy by armed rebels. It also maintains that political reforms need to be implemented in Syria engaging "real" opposition groups.

Qatar, like other Persian Gulf Arab states, supports the rebel movement fighting to topple the Syrian government.  

 

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