Trump, UAE leader discuss efforts to better relations among Gulf nations

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By Middle East Affairs

U.S. President Donald Trump and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates agreed Friday to work toward better relations among Gulf nations, Reuters reports.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt began a boycott against Qatar last June, claiming the Gulf state had ties to terrorism, which Qatar vehemently denies.

Trump and bin Zayed spoke by telephone and agreed that members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council “can and should do more to increase coordination with each other and with the United States,” the White House said in a statement.

Trump even postponed earlier this week a summit with Gulf Arab leaders until September when it had been planned for May. The White House excused itself with a full diplomatic calendar but also said the “lack of progress in negotiations to end the dispute” was a major reason, according to Reuters.

Trump met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month while he toured the United States. The U.S. president is also scheduled to meet with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani April 10.

Qatar, in retaliation of the boycott, launched last month a five-year development plan to become more self-reliant. Titled the National Development Strategy for 2018-2022, the plan pledges to “rationalize energy consumption and encourage development of renewable energy while raising self-sufficiency levels for farming and fishing production,” according to Reuters.

The state has also landed deals and strengthened relations with other countries, including a new “multi-role amphibious ship” out of Italy for its navy and a successful increase in trade with Turkey.

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