By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S.'s point person for the ongoing dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors resigned his post, citing the rift's intransigence.
Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni told CBS News he was unable to make progress "because of the unwillingness of the regional leaders to agree to a viable mediation effort that we offered to conduct or assist in implementing."
He doubted the need for his involvement in the formation of an "Arab NATO," an alliance U.S. President Donald Trump has been seeking to forge to confront Iran. Zinni said other administration officials are pursuing the creation of the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told Anadolu Agency in a statement, efforts to form the alliance are "well underway thanks to" Zinni's efforts.
“The Administration, through the interagency process led by the Department of State, will carry the mission forward," Palladino said. "General Zinni has told us he remains available should the need arise. We are grateful to General Zinni for his work with the Department of State and his service to our country.”
Zinni signed on to work as a special advisor to the secretary of state in 2017 at the request of ex-Defense Secretary James Mattis and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Both top officials have departed the administration over policy disputes with the president. Mattis resigned in protest in December while Tillerson was fired by Trump on Twitter in March.
Zinni had previously served as the head of U.S. Central Command, and had been a special envoy for Middle East peace under former President George W. Bush.