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US Fails to Establish Anti-Iran Arab Alliance

US Fails to Establish Anti-Iran Arab AllianceUS Fails to Establish Anti-Iran Arab Alliance

The US administration pressed ahead on Friday with plans to create an "Arab NATO" that would unite US partners in the Middle East in an anti-Iran alliance, but Qatar said the crisis among Persian Gulf countries must be solved first.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met in New York with foreign ministers from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to advance the project, AP reported.

The US State Department said Pompeo had stressed the need to defeat the self-styled Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations, as well as end the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, securing Iraq and "stopping Iran's malign activity in the region."

Iran strongly denies allegations that its regional activities are destabilizing and says the presence of foreign forces in the region as well as wrong policies pursued by certain regional governments have undermined peace and security in the Middle East.

The US State Department's statement added that the ministers had "productive discussions" on setting up what is to be known as the "Middle East Strategic Alliance".

However, nothing concrete emerged from the meeting, as the Arab states failed to bridge the ever-widening crack in regional solidarity. 

> Persian Gulf Dispute 

Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told a news conference after the meeting that the alliance should be built on existing institutions and asked how that could be done when the most powerful Persian Gulf countries have been engaged in a more than a yearlong dispute.

"The real challenge facing the US-led alliance is to solve the [Persian] Gulf crisis," he said, referring to a row that has pit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE against Qatar and has split the main regional group, the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council.

Since June 2017, the Saudis, Emiratis and Bahrain, along with Egypt, have boycotted Qatar and demanding that it limit its diplomatic ties with Iran, shut down the state-funded Al-Jazeera news network and sever ties to "terrorist organizations". Qatar denies supporting terrorists.

Sheikh Mohammed said Friday's meeting was cordial but there was "no progress" on resolving the Persian Gulf dispute and "it is still a stalemate."

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