- Tillerson Faults Saudi-Led Bloc for Failing to End Qatar Crisis
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has little hope that a Saudi Arabia-led bloc’s standoff with Qatar will end anytime soon, blaming the four countries lined up against the emirate for a lack of progress and casting doubts on U.S. efforts to mediate the crisis.
“There seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the parties to want to engage,” Tillerson said in an interview Thursday in Washington. “It’s up to the leadership of the quartet when they want to engage with Qatar because Qatar has been very clear — they’re ready to engage.”
Tillerson made the comment days before he embarks on a trip to the region, including stops in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in a renewed push to resolve the dispute. The crisis flared in June when Saudi Arabia and three other U.S. allies in the region — the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain — severed diplomatic and transport links with the gas-rich state over accusations that it supports terrorist groups. Qatari officials deny the charges.
Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., last visited the region in July. At the time, the top U.S. diplomat said he was hopeful that he could help resolve the dispute, which has been officially mediated by Kuwait. Tillerson’s remarks Thursday suggested that attitude has now changed.
“I do not have a lot of expectations for it being resolved anytime soon,” Tillerson said. He declined to say which country bears the most responsibility for the lack of progress.
In September, President Donald Trump said he would be willing to serve as a mediator “right here in the White House” if the issue wasn’t solved soon.
“I have a very strong feeling that it will be solved, and pretty quickly,” Trump predicted at the time.
In the interview, Tillerson emphasized that the main responsibility for a way out of the crisis now rests with the countries at the center of it.
“Our role is to try to ensure lines of communication are as open as we can help them be, that messages not be misunderstood,” Tillerson said. “We’re ready to play any role we can to bring them together but at this point it really is now up to the leadership of those countries.”
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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