A senior official of the US Department of State has lauded Kuwait’s continuous mediation efforts and Qatar’s commitment and openness in resolving the Gulf diplomatic crisis, expressing optimism that “GCC could play the role it traditionally has in serving as united block.”
US Secretary of State deputy assistant Timothy Lenderking was addressing a telephonic press briefing on Thursday, focused on US policy in the Arabian Peninsula and the outcomes of recent strategic dialogues held with Bahrain, Kuwait, and other Gulf partners.
“Kuwait has been the key mediator here, and still continues to play that role, which has been extremely helpful. Kuwait, again, is very reassuring, of course what we hope for eventually, is re-establishment of diplomatic relations, opening in land and air borders and we look forward to that,” the US official said.
Lenderking said it is imperative the GCC must unite against regional threats, stressing that disputes harm mutual interests between the US and GCC countries.
A united GCC, he added, is viewed by the US government as extremely important for regional stability and opens more opportunities for economic development, security and other areas of co-operation.
“Qatar has been consistently open to resolving the rift and we found that to be a very helpful approach. Qatar has been open to proposals that we have made, has been open to and very receptive to Kuwait mediation, and so we view Qatar’s commitment here as very consistent and we are very glad to see that,” Lenderking said.
He noted that Qatar remains a friend and a very strong ally of the US, citing the recent visit of Secretary of State Mike Pomeo, as well as other State officials, to Qatar to discuss bilateral issues between the two countries.
Lenderking highlighted Qatar’s vital role in the Afghan peace process, bringing the Afghans together on numerous occasions.
In the fight against terrorism, he said Qatar and the US continue to be strong partners and hold strategic dialogues in counter-terrorism efforts.
The recently-held dialogue, Lenderking noted, discussed ways to advance regional security, seek solutions for regional conflicts that bolster economic partnership, among others.
He described the visit of Secretary Pompeo to Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia last month as “very productive meetings with the leadership of these countries.”
“We made a lot of progress over the last three months with our relations with the Gulf and set a direction for engagements going forward,” Lenderking said, adding that the US is proud of the defence co-operation it has across the Gulf, especially with Qatar which hosts US forces in the Al Udeid Airbase.
“Our Gulf partners also made valuable contributions to the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” he added.