US Secretary of Defense William Cohen urged the Qatari government on Saturday to reopen the Israeli trade office in Doha "as soon as possible."
"I believe in times such as this, it is even more important to maintain lines of communication with all parties concerned," said Cohen during a press conference in Doha, his fourth stop on a regional tour.
But he emphasized that reopening the trade office was not a decision for the United States. "That is a decision that only the government of Qatar can make."
On November 9, three days before an Organization of the Islamic Conference's (OIC) summit convened in Doha, Qatar announced the closing of the Israeli trade office under pressure from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The two countries had threatened not to attend if Qatar did not close the trade office, which opened in 1996.
"I hope they will be in a position to reopen the office as soon as they feel it is possible for them to do so," said Cohen about the Qataris – DOHA (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)