Kuwait Emir confirms Qatar ready to meet, discuss 13 demands

Saul Bowman
September 11, 2017

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, suspending air and shipping routes with the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, which is home to the region's biggest USA military base.

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".

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Qatar, the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, of ties to Iran and to terrorist groups.

The Saudi-led Arab countries, also close USA allies, have presented Qatar with a list of 13 demands to restore relations, which the Qataris have so far rejected.

During his press conference with the Emir, Mr Trump claimed the relationship between the United States and Kuwait "has never been stronger - never, ever". Mr Trump first appeared to support Saudi Arabia in the crisis, but later came around to supporting Mr Tillerson's diplomatic efforts.

This is while analysts have touted the Qatar crisis as the fallout of Trump's visit to Riyadh in early June. "Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!"

Trump immediately expressed staunch support for Saudi Arabia after the Arab states announced sanctions against Qatar, but some other U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, adopted a more measured tone.

The visit is in response to an invitation extended by US President Donald Trump in February, shortly after his inauguration, Shaikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah told Kuwait News Agency (Kuna). Kuwait has been trying to mediate the dispute.

Tillerson said he and his Kuwaiti counterparts also discussed the emirate's employment of guest workers from North Korea.

Sheikh Sabah said he had received a letter from Qatar that expressed willingness to discuss a list of 13 demands from its neighbors.

On the demands, he said that "any matters that affect sovereignty are unacceptable to us", underlining that Kuwait guarantees it would put pressure on Qatar amid efforts to prevent its exit from the GCC.

They say it is the world's most complex and hard deal, you know that.

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.

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