Trump 'demanded quick end to Gulf rift in call to Saudi King'
April 12 2018 12:43 AM
Donald Trump wants the Gulf rift healed.


In a phone call this month with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, US President Donald Trump demanded that the kingdom and its Arab partners quickly end a nearly year-old dispute with Qatar that has left US allies in the region fractured, according to two US officials briefed on the conversation.
Trump wants the rift healed to restore unity among Arab Gulf states and present a united front against Iran, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss high-level diplomatic communications.
Trump's tone in the April 2 call with Salman was described by one official as "forceful." It was not clear what the king's response was.
"The president stressed that the feud the Saudis and Emirates are having with Qatar makes no sense," the official said.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of backing Iran, and supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the charges and says the boycott impinges on its sovereignty.
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.
A written White House readout of Trump's phone call with King Salman said that the US president "emphasised the importance of resolving the Gulf dispute and restoring a united Gulf Cooperation Council."
The readout, however, did not describe a US deadline for resolving the dispute.
Trump also discussed the dispute in an April 6 phone call with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, and in a White House meeting on Tuesday with His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

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