United States envoy working on Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni resigns

Anthony Zinni, US envoy tasked with resolving Qatar dispute, resigns

US State Department envoy working on Qatar crisis resigns

The US-based broadcaster said on Tuesday that Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine general, resigned after realising he "could not help resolve" the 18-month-long row, in which four Arab countries cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, after accusing it of supporting "terrorism".

Zinni joins a long list of high-ranking and long-serving United States officials who have been sacked or who willingly resigned from controversial President Donald Trump's team, often on account of his incoherent policy decisions but also following personal rows with the former real estate tycoon and reality TV celebrity.

Zinni told CBS News he was unable to resolve the issue "because of the unwillingness of the regional leaders to agree to a viable mediation effort that we offered to conduct or assist in implementing". Zinni, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, has resigned from President Donald Trump's administration.

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On June 5 of that year, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with key USA ally Qatar, accusing it of supporting "terrorist groups" and advocating improved ties with their rival Iran. The dispute arose in late May 2017 after the Qatar News Agency broadcast controversial comments attributed to the emirate's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The president later said he disagreed with Tillerson on the Iranian nuclear deal.

Zinni, a former Middle East envoy, was brought in to try and manage the diplomatic crisis surrounding Qatar.

The resignation came on the same day that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set off for an eight-day tour of the Middle East to reassure Washington's allies about its commitment to the region after President Donald Trump's announcement of a troop withdrawal from Syria and a contentious Senate vote on the Yemen civil war.

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Zinni was appointed by former secretary of state Rex Tillerson in August 2017, two months after the dispute between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc erupted.

A U.S. official who was in charge of Washington's efforts to resolve the 19-month long blockade of Qatar has quit his post, becoming the latest official to depart from President Donald Trump's resignation-plagued administration. Defence Secretary Gen James Mattis said last month he would resign after Trump announced he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. The administration has since backpedaled from that decision.

Asked by Task & Purpose whether Mattis's departure affected his decision, Zinni said it did not "really" make an impact, although he was "disappointed by what happened".

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"Jim Mattis is a great friend of mine and he was the right guy for the job", he said, pointing out that Mattis first approached him to take the envoy position.

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