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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Donald Trump to meet Gulf leaders in March and April

A US official said that Mr Trump will discuss the setting up of a GCC summit in the summer 

US president Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman walk into the State Dining Room of the White House in March 2017. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
US president Donald Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman walk into the State Dining Room of the White House in March 2017. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

US president Donald Trump will in the next couple of months meet with senior officials from the Gulf including Saudi Arabia amid efforts by Washington to resolve a dispute in the region, according to a US official source.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is already reported to be planning to visit the United States next month, in his first trip to America since he became Crown Prince last year

However, Reuters quoted a US official as saying that other Gulf leaders including Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad are also set for bilateral visits with Mr Trump in March and April. These trips are as yet unconfirmed by Gulf officials.

The official said that the leaders will discuss setting up a Gulf Co-operation Council summit to be held later this year, the Middle East peace process and Iran.

Read more: Saudi foreign minister rejects Qatari proposal for EU-style security pact

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar in June 2016 over its support of terrorists and interference in the affairs of other countries. Doha denies this.

"We would hope the dispute is resolved before the summit to allow maximum focus on other strategic concerns like Iran," Reuters quoted another US official as saying. Washington is hoping to lay the groundwork for a summit in the summer.

Qatar is host to US and international forces at Al Udeid Air Base, which is home to the Combined Air Operations Centre. The centre co-ordinates an array of data and intelligence from satellites, drones, radar and US planes flying over hot spots in the Middle East and bombing ISIL positions.

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