Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Qatar late Sunday for talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council–a Sunni Arab bloc consisting of six gulf states–that largely focused on the Iran nuclear deal struck between world powers and the regime in Tehran last month.
Kerry began his Mid-East trip in Egypt with a similar message: attempting to assuage concerns over the nuclear accord, which has become deeply unpopular in Sunni-majority lands.
“Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities in the region – and that is why it is so important to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains wholly peaceful,” Kerry told reporters in Egypt. “There can be absolutely no question that the Vienna plan, if implemented, will make Egypt and all the countries of the region safer than they otherwise would be,” the U.S. chief diplomat added.
Kerry said in a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry: “It is important to distinguish between those who use violence to achieve their ends and others who seek peacefully to participate in a political dialogue, even if what they say may sometimes make people uncomfortable.”
Kerry is scheduled to meet with the foreign ministers of the GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, and Bahrain. He will meet separately with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is also visiting the region, the Associated Press reports.
In a meeting with Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiya, Kerry said of the Iran deal, according to the Chicago Tribune, “We are facing many challenges in our communities and we are aiming to achieve peace and security and stability with the help of the United States.”
The Secretary of State cautioned against “any threats” by Sunni states of investing in “nuclear weapons” and stressed “the importance of the use of nuclear energy and technology for peaceful purposes.”
In a seemingly unrelated plea, the Qatari Foreign Minister, who represents a country that remains an ally of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, called on America to pressure the “Israeli occupation” into surrendering land that supposedly belongs to Palestinians.
“We call on the United States of America to exert more efforts to go back to the peace process,” al-Attiya concluded.