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US envoy working on Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni resigns

Retired US Marine Corps (USMC) General Anthony Zinni, former Commander in CHIEF (CINC), US Central Command (CENTCOM), speaks at the conclusion of a Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA), change of command at the JTF-SWA Headquarters, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during Operation SOUTHERN WATCH 1998 (Photo by TSGT James D. Mossman, USAF)

The US envoy working on the Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni has resigned from his position with the State Department.

The retired US Marine General announced his resignation after a “viable mediation effort” to solve the dispute between Qatar and other Gulf and Arab countries failed to materialize, CBS News reported.

Zinni had originally agreed to work as a special adviser to the then secretary of state, Rex Tillerson in 2017. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched a boycott of Qatar in June that year over Doha’s linkes to extremist groups.

The US, which sees Saudi Arabia as one of its its closest allies in the region but also has thousands of troops stationed at a vast military base in Qatar, has been keen to resolve the dispute. But attempts both by Washington and Kuwait to mediate a way forward have failed.

A State Department spokesman thanked Zinni for his work, which included discussing with regional leaders a regional military organization similar to NATO called the Middle East Strategic Alliance.

Zinni is the latest high ranking general to exit Donad Trump’s administration. Defence Secretary Gen. James Mattis said last month he would resign after Trump announced he would withdraw US troops from Syria.

Zinni formerly served as commander of US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East. Following his military career he served as the US special envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority during the George W. Bush administration.


© 2019 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

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