Donald Trump calls for 'united GCC', offers to mediate

Posted September 11, 2017

President Donald Trump on Thursday hailed efforts by the leader of Kuwait, a staunch American ally, to mediate a festering diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and its Arab neighbors that could have implications for the US military presence in the region.

Trump's White House meeting with Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah comes as Trump has sent conflicting signals about where he stands on the dispute.

"I think it's something that's going to get solved fairly easily".

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Kuwait has emerged as a key mediator after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt announced on 5 June they had cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar. In a statement early September 8, the Saudi-led bloc questioned the emir's statements.

In a phone conversation on August 30, Trump told the Saudi monarch that a diplomatic resolution was necessary in order to fulfill a commitment Washington and its regional allies had made to stay united while fighting terrorism. "Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!"

Trump's comments come months after an inflammatory speech in Saudi Arabia, his accusations that Qatar funds terrorism, and after apparently taking credit for encouraging the blockade in a series of Twitter posts.

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This might explain the sudden push to isolate Doha, under the pretext that it has close ties with Iran as well as the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Trump's holding a joint news conference at the White House with Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah. He applauded Kuwait's "critical contributions to regional stability" and repeated an offer to mediate himself, particularly between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tillerson said he and his Kuwaiti counterparts also discussed the emirate's employment of guest workers from North Korea. Although Qatar has rejected some of them out of hand, Sheikh Sabah said negotiations were possible.

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Tillerson said the US had agreed to "expedite" delivery of F-18 Super Hornet aircraft, sold to Kuwait previous year as part of a $10 billion arms deal, and both countries agreed to expand sharing of counterterrorism and border security information.