US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker will visit Qatar this week for talks on regional issues and will emphasize the need for unity among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to counter Iran, the State Department said in a press release on TuesdayWASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th October, 2019) US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker will visit Qatar this week for talks on regional issues and will emphasize the need for unity among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to counter Iran, the State Department said in a press release on Tuesday.
"Schenker will travel to Qatar October 17-19," the release said. "The Assistant Secretary will emphasize the importance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Qatar, and underscore the need for a united Gulf Cooperation Council in standing against the Iranian regime's destabilizing activity."
During the visit, Schenker will meet with Qatari government officials including Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to discuss bilateral and regional political issues, the release said.
Schenker's trip to Qatar coincides with a visit by US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper, who the State Department on Friday said would visit Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar from October 13-18 to strengthen regional security partners in the face of "Iranian aggression."
Qatar has been engaged in a months-long dispute with several of its Arab neighbors in the GCC. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 and began imposing a boycott on the country, accusing it of supporting terrorism in the region. Qatar refuted the allegations.
But ties between Qatar and Saudi Arabia have warmed slightly in recent months amid a dramatic escalation of tensions in the region and a worsening standoff between the US and Iran.
Both the US and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for the September 14 drone attacks on oil facilities that halved the kingdom's daily output. Yemen's Houthi rebel movement claimed responsibility for those attacks.
Riyadh and Washington has also accused Iran of involvement in a series of unclaimed attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, though Iran has denied any involvement.
�In May, Qatari's Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani attended an emergency GCC summit in Mecca called by Saudi Arabia to address escalating tensions in the region, becoming the first Qatari official to visit the kingdom since Riyadh severed ties with Doha in 2017.