to mediate a festering diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and its Arab neighbors that could have implications for the U.S. military presence in the region.
At a White House news conference with Sheikh Sabah, Trump said he appreciated the emir’s thus-far unsuccessful bid to end the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.
He applauded Kuwait’s “critical contributions to regional stability” but also repeated an offer to mediate himself, particularly between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He suggested a deal would be “worked out very quickly” if he became personally involved.
Trump said all the countries involved — members of the Gulf Cooperation Council — are “essential partners” with the United States in efforts to crack down on extremism, including the fight against Islamic State group. “We will be most successful with a united GCC,” he said. “We will send a strong message to both terrorist organizations and regional aggressors that they cannot win.”
His comments came after he sent conflicting signals about where he stands on the dispute. Trump initially appeared to side with Saudi Arabia, but then instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to support the Kuwaiti mediation effort.
Still, the dispute has dragged on for more than three months, even after Tillerson shuttled between the parties in July and dispatched two other U.S. envoys to bolster the 88-year-old Kuwaiti emir’s initiative.