x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

US national security adviser concludes UAE visit

Tom Donilon met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince to discuss "regional issues".

ABU DHABI // The US national security adviser Tom Donilon met today with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Their agenda covered "regional issues", the White House said in a statement. The US Embassy in Abu Dhabi declined to comment.

The visit continues a series of meetings with American and Arab Gulf leaders amid unrest in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and other Arab nations.

Mr Donilon met with Saudi King Abdullah on Tuesday and presented a letter from President Barack Obama, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Sheikh Mohammed met with the US defense secretary Robert Gates over the weekend to discuss regional unrest, defence co-operation and Iran. It was Mr Gates' third visit to the UAE in under a year.

The crown prince also spoke with President Obama by phone on March 19, just hours before the US gave final orders for American forces to help implement a UN-backed no-fly zone in Libya, Mr Donilon said in a press briefing last month.

During the briefing last month Mr Donilon defended America's intervention in Libya but not other countries facing revolt like Bahrain. "It's just a very different circumstance," he said.

With Libya, he said, Arab leaders and the UN Security Council had urged action to defend civilians against ruler Col Muammar Qaddafi.

"There was a broad set of requests and demands from the region for action. The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League came forward and asked for the United Nations Security Council to step up and address this issue," he said.

In Bahrain, the US was pushing for dialogue, he said.

"Bahrain has been a longtime ally of the United States ... We've been pressing on both sides, frankly, to come to the table and avoid confrontation," he said.

"Our goal there is a credible political process that addresses legitimate aspirations."

On Thursday President Obama is set to meet at the White House Qatar's ruler Sheikh Hamid bin Khalifa al Thani.

 

chuang@thenational.ae