• Erdogan to visit Qatar, Saudi

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    ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will this month visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are locked in a deep diplomatic crisis, his office announced Tuesday.

    Erdogan will also visit Kuwait, the main mediator in the Qatar crisis, during his July 23-24 tour.

    Turkey is a key ally of Qatar, which has been diplomatically and economically isolated by its Gulf neighbors over allegations it supports terrorism.

    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain last month cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and issued 13 wide-ranging demands to lift the blockade, including the closure of a Turkish military base in the emirate.

    The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as Qatar is its main ally in the Gulf but Ankara does not want to antagonize key regional power Saudi Arabia.

    Meanwhile, Egypt said it would end visas on arrival for Qatari citizens as a dispute between four Arab states and the Gulf emirate continues.

    The measure, which goes into effect on Thursday, will not include spouses of Egyptians or university students who will be granted tourist visas on arrival, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said.

    The decision was announced on Monday as Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah, who is trying to mediate an end to the dispute.

    Shoukry insisted that Qatar has to meet the demands of the Arab bloc to end an embargo, a foreign ministry statement said.

    Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have demanded that Qatar stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement and close broadcaster Al-Jazeera which they accuse of inciting unrest in their countries.

    AFP

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