US President Donald Trump (right) and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 7 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate an ongoing dispute between Qatar and its neighboring Arab states, adding that he thinks the issue could be resolved "fairly easily."
"If I can help mediate between Qatar and, in particular, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I would be willing to do so, and I think you would have a deal worked out very quickly," Trump told reporters at a joint press conference on Thursday at the White House in Washington, DC, with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah.
"I would be willing to be the mediator," Trump said. "I think it's something that's going to get solved fairly easily."
Saudi Arabia and its Arab satellite states of Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region.
The Saudi-led bloc has also imposed sanctions against the tiny Persian Gulf country, including restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace. Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia has only been blocked as a result.
Last week, Trump called on Saudi King Salman and “all the parties in the Qatar dispute” to find a diplomatic solution to the regional standoff.
In a phone conversation on August 30, Trump told the Saudi monarch that a diplomatic resolution was necessary in order to fulfill a commitment Washington and its regional allies had made to stay united while fighting terrorism.
This is while analysts have touted the Qatar crisis as the fallout of Trump’s visit to Riyadh in early June. Even Trump himself pointed this out in a tweet during the conflict’s early days.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Trump wrote on June 6. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said before the visit that it was aimed at getting Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region to stand in “unity” with Israel and confront Iran.
This might explain the sudden push to isolate Doha, under the pretext that it has close ties with Iran as well as the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.
‘Qatar ready to discuss Saudi demands’
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (left) and US President Donald Trump meet in the Oval Office of the White House September 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
Kuwait has been trying to mediate the dispute between Qatar and its US-allied Arab neighbors.
Standing at the side of Trump at the White House, the Kuwaiti emir told reporters on Thursday: "What is important is that we have stopped any military action [against Qatar].”
Sheikh Sabah claimed that the Qatari government was ready to discuss a list of 13 demands from its Arab neighbors.
"We know that not all of these 13 demands are acceptable," Sheikh Sabah said, referring particularly to issues that affected Qatari sovereignty. "A great part of them will be resolved.”
Among the demands are that Qatar downgrade its ties with Iran, shut down Al Jazeera news network, and close a Turkish military base in the Arab country.
    Doha has rejected the conditions set by Saudi Arabia and allies to restore diplomatic relations with the emirate, saying they are simply unrealistic and unattainable.

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