x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 December 2017

Trump calls Sheikh Mohammed to break Qatar stalemate

US President Donald Trump has resumed his calls to the region in an attempt to resolve the ongoing Qatar dispute

US President Donald Trump called Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “to discuss efforts to resolve the ongoing dispute with Qatar”
US President Donald Trump called Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “to discuss efforts to resolve the ongoing dispute with Qatar”

Following a stumble in US and Kuwaiti mediation efforts to bring all sides to the table in the Qatar dispute last weekend, US President Donald Trump resumed his calls to the region on Tuesday in a phone conversation with UAE’s Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.

The White House announced that Mr Trump called Sheikh Mohammed “to discuss efforts to resolve the ongoing dispute with Qatar” which reached the 100 day mark yesterday. The US side “underscored the importance of unity among United States partners in the region”, a hint at Washington’s continued urge to keep the Gulf Cooperation Council unified, and find a settlement.

Mr Trump also stressed “the need for all countries to do more to cut off funding for terrorist groups, discredit extremist ideology, and defeat terrorism.” Those were key commitments made in the Riyadh summit last May, and the four states boycotting Qatar have accused its government of a lapse on these issues.

The US President’s call to the UAE leadership comes days after American and Kuwaiti efforts stalled in their attempts to start a direct dialogue between Doha and the four Arab states. Following a call from Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday, Riyadh suspended all talks and accused Doha of issuing "false reports”.

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Tuesday’s call is Mr Trump’s third to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed since the Qatar dispute started last June. Mr Trump also called Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz five times, Saudi Crown prince three times, and the Emir of Qatar two times.

The US has offered direct mediation in the conflict if the Kuwaiti efforts falter, and hoped for a swift resolution to the dispute. Additionally, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had visited the region and then dispatched two envoys among them retired General Anthony Zinni to work toward a settlement.