Trump demands Arab partners to end dispute with Qatar
WASHINGTON (Reuters): US President Donald Trump has demanded Saudi Arabia and its Arab partners to quickly end their dispute with Qatar that has left US allies in the region fractured.
President Trump made this demand in a telephone call to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, said the US officials, who requested anonymity to discuss high-level diplomatic communications.
Trump’s tone in the call with Salman was described by one official as “forceful.” It was not clear what the king’s response was.
According to officials, Trump wants the dispute ended to restore unity among Arab Gulf states and present a united front against Iran.
“The president’s focus has always been on Iran, and its nuclear and missile programs that threaten all the Gulf States, as well as Israel, and he stressed that the feud the Saudis and Emirates are having with Qatar makes no sense,” the official said.
A spokeswoman for the Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A second official knowledgeable about the call said Trump insisted that the rift within the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council be patched up within three weeks, in part because of a looming decision on Iran.
Trump also discussed the dispute in a phone call last Friday with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and in a White House meeting on Tuesday with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamid al-Thani, where he said his ties with Qatar were working “extremely well.”