Trump urges Saudi King to promote regional reconciliation in Middle East

Trump urges Saudi King to promote regional reconciliation in Middle East

MOSCOW: US President Donald Trump has called on King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to negotiate with the other Gulf countries with the goal of overcoming the regional rift on the heels of the US-brokered landmark agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, Judd Deere, the White House’s deputy press secretary, said on Monday.

The press release came following a telephone conversation between Trump and King Salman earlier in the day, reported Sputnik news agency.

“President Trump praised Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency and welcomed the opening of Saudi air space to flights between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, beginning with last week’s historic commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi,” Deere said on Twitter.

According to the spokesman, the conversation featured a discussion of “ways to enhance regional security and prosperity” with an emphasis on the significance of the UAE-Israel agreement on the normalisation of relations, known as the Abraham Accord.

“President Trump also urged Saudi Arabia to negotiate with other Gulf countries to resolve the rift. President Trump emphasised the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and thanked King Salman for his leadership,” Deere said.

The Middle East currently has several vectors of tensions, with the key ones being the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the diplomatic estrangement between Qatar and other Gulf countries.

On August 13, Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a landmark agreement, brokered by the US, to normalise ties, which among other things entails Israel giving up its annexation plans in the West Bank. The two countries are planning to sign a variety of agreements for cooperation in investments, tourism, security and other areas in the coming weeks.

Qatar has been under a diplomatic and economic blockade since last June, when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, among others, cut the diplomatic relations and communication with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. Qatar has consistently denied the accusations, insisting that the neighbors’ discontent with its economic successes was behind their hostile policies.