At a White House news conference with Sheikh Sabah, Trump said he appreciated the emir’s thus-far unsuccessful bid to end the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. He applauded Kuwait’s “critical contributions to regional stability” but also repeated an offer to mediate himself, particularly between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He suggested a deal would be “worked out very quickly” if he became personally involved.
His comments came after he sent conflicting signals about where he stands on the dispute. Trump initially appeared to side with Saudi Arabia, but then instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to support the Kuwaiti mediation effort. Still, the dispute has dragged on for more than three months, even after Tillerson shuttled between the parties in July and dispatched two other U.S. envoys to bolster the 88-year-old Kuwaiti emir’s initiative.
For his part, Sheikh Sabah said he remained hopeful that a resolution to the crisis could be reached. He noted that Qatar had been presented with a list of 13 demands by the other countries and was willing to discuss them. Although Qatar has rejected some of them out of hand, Sheikh Sabah said he believed negotiations were possible.
That hope appeared in jeopardy early Friday with a statement by the boycotting countries saying “any dialogue on meeting their demands should not be preceded by any prior conditions.” The statement, which said the countries “regret” several of the comments by Sheikh Sabah, represents an unusual rebuke in the clubby world of Gulf Arab nations.
Source Credit: The Washington Post
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