Published: Mon, September 11, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Trump speaks with leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar

Trump speaks with leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar

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

The Saudi-led Arab countries, also close US allies, have presented Qatar with a list of 13 demands to restore relations, which the Qataris have so far rejected.

President Donald J. Trump will welcome Amir Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah of Kuwait to the White House for an official working visit on September 7, 2017.

During his press conference with the Emir, Mr Trump claimed the relationship between the United States and Kuwait "has never been stronger - never, ever".

The Saudis, along with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and other countries in the region, have broken all commercial and diplomatic ties with Qatar over its alleged financing of terrorism and close ties to regional rival Iran.

Trump also warned that while he would prefer "not going the route of the military", military action against Pyongyang was something that "certainly could happen", agencies reported. Mr Trump first appeared to support Saudi Arabia in the crisis, but later came around to supporting Mr Tillerson's diplomatic efforts. As the dispute has dragged on, the administration has dispatched other US envoys to bolster the 88-year-old Kuwaiti emir's initiative. "Kuwait has been really the leader of getting it solved, and we appreciate that very much".

Trump says he will discuss the diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and its Arab neighbors. 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.

Qatar is home to the largest USA military base in the Middle East, and its isolation could hurt US operations in the fight against the Islamic State and other missions.

The Kuwaiti leader is thanking the United States for standing with their country when Iraq's Saddam Hussein launched an invasion.

Trump has instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to support the Kuwaiti mediation effort despite Qatar denying funding extremists.

"We have great relationships with all of them right now; maybe better than we've ever had", Mr Trump said.

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