WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Senior Saudi, Emirati and Qatari leaders will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in the next couple of months, U.S. officials said, amid efforts by Washington to try to resolve a dispute between the Gulf neighbors.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani are all planning to have bilateral visits with Trump in March and April, a senior U.S. official said.
The agenda will include setting up a Gulf Cooperation Council summit, the official said, which Washington hopes will be held later this year, as well as Middle East peace and Iran.
The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their arch-rival Iran. Doha denies the charges and says the countries aim to curtail its sovereignty.
Washington is hoping to lay the groundwork for a summit by the summer.
“We would hope the dispute is resolved before the summit to allow maximum focus on other strategic concerns like Iran,” another U.S. official said.
Qatar is host to U.S. and international forces at Al Udeid Air Base, which is home to the Combined Air Operations Center. The center coordinates an array of data and intelligence from satellites, drones, radar and U.S. planes flying over hot spots in the Middle East and bombing Islamic State positions. (Reporting by Yara Bayoumy, Jonathan Landay, Steve Holland and Warren Strobel; Editing by Sandra Maler)