Trump willing to play mediator in ongoing Gulf dispute

President Trump, Emir of Kuwait full remarks
President Trump, Emir of Kuwait full remarks

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President Trump, Emir of Kuwait full remarks 29:33

Story highlights

  • Trump said he believed he could quickly resolve the dispute
  • Trump on Thursday opted instead for a thinly veiled warning

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Thursday said he is prepared to personally intervene to resolve the months-long dispute between Qatar and several other Gulf neighbors if the countries do not reestablish diplomatic relations soon.

"I would be willing to be the mediator," Trump said, adding he believed he could quickly resolve the dispute. "If I can help mediate between Qatar and in particular, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I would be willing to do so."
The dispute is still ongoing three months after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and initiated an economic boycott, citing Qatari funding of terrorist groups and, later, its increasingly close relationship with Iran. The spat has simmered even amid the efforts of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has tried to bridge the divide between the two countries and expressed frustrations about the lack of movement.
    Trump on Thursday opted instead for a thinly veiled warning that did not mention Qatar by name, but made clear the US will not tolerate ongoing financing of terrorist groups by Doha.
    "This all began because of the fact that there has been massive funding of terrorism by certain countries. What I want is I want -- stop the funding of terrorism," Trump said. "And if they don't stop the funding of terrorism I don't want them to come together. But I think they will."
    Trump even suggested hosting representatives from the feuding countries at the White House to mediate the dispute and said he believed his personal diplomacy could lead to a swift resolution.
    Trump's comment came during a joint news conference with the Emir of Kuwait, who has also attempted to mediate the dispute between Qatar and its neighbors.
    Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said "the hope has not ended yet" for a breakthrough and said Qatar stands ready to sit down and discuss the 13 demands laid out by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the spat.
    "Now is the time that we have to forget all of these differences," Al-Sabah said.
    Saudi Arabia and its allies moved abruptly to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, just a few weeks after Trump visited the kingdom in his first foreign trip, signaling a deepening of the relationship between the US and the Saudi kingdom. Several analysts at the time suspected that Saudi Arabia's move toward Qatar -- which followed months of escalating tensions -- was in part driven by the country feeling emboldened by its strong relationship with the Trump administration.
    Tillerson engaged in a round of shuttle diplomacy in July in an effort to resolve the dispute, emerging empty handed and visibly frustrated at the lack of progress and goodwill.
    "Right now, the parties are not even talking to one another at any level," Tillerson had said, adding that an "ultimate resolution may take quite a while."
    Few signs of progress have since emerged in efforts to resolve the dispute.