Posts Tagged ‘Kuwait’

Qatar Says Won’t Negotiate Until Economic Boycott Ends

June 19, 2017

DOHA — Qatar will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with it unless they reverse their measures, its foreign minister said, ruling out discussions over Qatar’s internal affairs including Al Jazeera TV.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Qatar had still not received any demands from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which severed relations two weeks ago, triggering the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years.

Image result for Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, photos

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahmanal-Thani

The countries accuse Qatar of supporting Islamist militants and stirring up unrest, charges Doha denies.

“Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters in Doha. “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward.”

He said Kuwait’s ruler was the sole mediator in the crisis and that he was waiting for specific demands from Gulf states in order to take resolution efforts forward.

“We cannot just have (vague) demands such as ‘the Qataris know what we want from them, they have to stop this or that, they have to be monitored by a foreign monitoring mechanism,'” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Anything that relates to the affairs of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council is subject to negotiation, he said, referring to the body comprising Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

“Anything not related to them is not subject to negotiation. No one has the right to interfere in my affairs. Al Jazeera is Qatar’s affairs, Qatari foreign policy on regional issues is Qatar’s affairs. And we are not going to negotiate on our own affairs,” he said.

Qatar’s Gulf critics have accused Al Jazeera of being a platform for extremists and an agent of interference in their affairs. The network has rejected those accusations and said it will maintain its editorial independence.

Image result for LNG, Qatar, photos

The crisis has hit civilian travel, some food imports, ratcheted up tensions in the Gulf and sown confusion among businesses. But it has not affected energy exports from Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar would rely on other states if the boycott continued, including Saudi Arabia’s arch regional foe Iran.

“We have a back-up plan which depends mainly on Turkey, Kuwait and Oman,” he said. “Iran has facilitated for us the sky passages for our aviation and we are cooperating with all countries that can ensure supplies for Qatar.”

(Reporting by Tom Finn; writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Turkey FM in Saudi for Qatar talks

June 16, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, pictured on June 5, 2017, is adamant that the Gulf states need to engage in dialogue in order to solve the tensions with Qatar

MECCA (SAUDI ARABIA) (AFP) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday for talks with King Salman, continuing efforts to resolve the Gulf’s biggest diplomatic crisis in years.A Turkish diplomatic source told AFP that the minister had landed in Jeddah.

Riyadh, the UAE, Egypt and others severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar almost two weeks ago, accusing Doha of supporting groups, including some backed by Iran, “that aim to destabilise the region”.

Qatar denies any such support for extremists.

Cavusoglu was to travel from Jeddah to the holy city of Mecca where Salman is based for the last days of Ramadan, after meeting his Kuwaiti counterpart on Thursday.

The emir of Kuwait, which did not cut ties with Qatar, has also been trying to mediate.

Turkey’s chief diplomat was in Doha on Wednesday where he called for dialogue after meeting Qatar’s emir and foreign minister ahead of his Saudi stop.

“Although the kingdom is a party in this crisis, we know that King Salman is a party in resolving it,” Cavusoglu said earlier.

“We want to hear the views of Saudi Arabia regarding possible solutions and will share with them our views in a transparent way… We pay a great attention to our relations with them,” he said.

The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as Ankara regards Qatar as its chief ally in the Gulf but is also keen to maintain its improving ties with regional power Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, Turkey is eager to maintain workable relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s foe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday described the decision by Gulf states to cut political and economic ties with Qatar as “inhumane and un-Islamic”.

He stopped short of directly criticising Saudi Arabia and said that as “the elder statesman of the Gulf,” Salman should resolve the matter.

Among the punitive measures, Qatar Airways is banned from the airspace of its neighbours, Gulf states gave Qataris 14 days to get out, and Saudi closed its land border through which much of Qatar’s food supply crossed.

Qatar says fighter jets deal shows deep U.S. support

June 15, 2017

Reuters

By Tom Finn | DOHA

A $12 billion deal to buy Boeing F-15 (BA.N) U.S. fighter jets shows Qatar has deep-rooted support from Washington, a Qatari official said on Thursday, adding that its rift with some other Arab states had not hurt the U.S. relationship with Doha.

Qatar is facing a severe economic and diplomatic boycott by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies who cut ties last week, accusing it of funding terrorist groups, a charge Doha denies.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly echoed the accusations against Qatar, even as his Defense and State Departments have tried to remain neutral in the dispute among key allies. Qatar is home to the headquarters for U.S. air forces in the Middle East.

On Wednesday U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed the previously-approved warplane deal with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah. Qatar’s ambassador to the United States, Meshal Hamad al-Thani, posted a picture of the signing ceremony on Twitter.

“This is of course proof that U.S. institutions are with us but we have never doubted that,” a Qatari official in Doha said. “Our militaries are like brothers. America’s support for Qatar is deep-rooted and not easily influenced by political changes.”

A Qatari defense ministry source said the deal was for 36 jets. In November, under the administration of Barack Obama, the United States approved a possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for $21.1 billion. Boeing, the prime contractor on the sale, declined to comment.

A European diplomat in the Gulf said the timing of the deal appeared coincidental.

“Presumably the U.S. could have delayed the deal if they’d wanted to, although I don’t think there’s a great connect between sales and foreign policy.”

Qatar is an important base for the U.S. military carrying out operations against Islamic State militants and other groups in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond. Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is home to more than 11,000 U.S. and coalition troops.

Qatar’s state news agency said on Wednesday that two U.S. warships arrived at Hamad port in Qatar as part of a planned joint military exercise involving marine forces.

The Pentagon said the jets sale will increase security cooperation between the U.S. and Qatar and help them operate together. It added Mattis and Attiyah had also discussed the current state of operations against Islamic State and the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Gulf.

The fighter jet deal had been stalled amid concerns raised by Israel that equipment sent to Gulf states could fall into the wrong hands and be used against it, and by the Obama administration’s broader decision-making on military aid to the Gulf.

Trump, who took office in January, has accused Qatar of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism, potentially hindering the State Department’s efforts to help ease the worst diplomatic crisis between Gulf Arab states for years.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is expected in Kuwait on Thursday after completing a visit to Qatar, foreign ministry sources said, in his quest to help broker an end to the dispute. Kuwait has emerged as the main mediator in the crisis.

Turkey has backed Qatar in the crisis and President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Wednesday the rift was damaging the Islamic world and Ankara would do all it could by diplomatic channels to prevent any escalation.

(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal; writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Peter Graff)

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Qatar blockade: Iran sends five planeloads of food

June 11, 2017

BBC News

Iran Air posted a tweet of a shipment being loaded at Shiraz airport
Iran Air posted a tweet of a shipment being loaded at Shiraz airport

Iran has sent five planeloads of food to Qatar, which is suffering shortages amid a regional blockade.

A number of nations, including Iran’s major rival Saudi Arabia, last week cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding terrorism, charges it denies.

The land border with Saudi Arabia, through which 40% of Qatar’s food comes, has been closed.

Qataris have been ordered to leave some of the blockading nations, but Qatar has said it will not follow suit.

A spokesman for Iran Air, Shahrokh Noushabadi, told the Agence France-Presse news agency on Sunday: “So far five planes carrying perishable food items such as fruit and vegetables have been sent to Qatar, each carrying around 90 tonnes of cargo, while another plane will be sent today.”

It is unclear whether the food is an aid delivery or a commercial transaction.

Iran Air posted a tweet of a shipment being loaded at Shiraz airport.

Mr Noushabadi said deliveries would continue “as long as there is demand”.

AFP also quoted the Tasnim news agency as reporting that three ships with 350 tonnes of food were also set to leave for Qatar.

Iran has also opened its airspace to Qatari flights, following airspace closures by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia

Analysts say Qatar’s positive relations with Shia-led Iran – Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival for influence in the region – were one of the causes of the latest rift, and the latest shipments are unlikely to ease the tension.

Meanwhile Qatar said it would not retaliate after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE last week ordered all Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days.

Some 11,000 people from the three nations are believed to be in Qatar.

In other developments on Sunday:

  • Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have set up hotlines to help families in their countries that have Qatari members. It is the first significant move to lessen the humanitarian impact of the blockade and followed a call on Friday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for measures to be eased
  • Qatar has hired former US attorney general John Ashcroft to fight its corner in the international arena
  • Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, said he was confident the “region will return to a normal situation” and the current crisis would not affect the staging of football’s World Cup in Qatar in 2022
  • Qatar’s overseer of charities. the Regulatory Authority for Charitable Activities, denied any involvement in funding militants, saying it “deplores the accusation that Qatari humanitarian organisations support terrorism”
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-40237721
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Kuwait Says Qatar ‘Ready to Understand’ Gulf Concerns — Plus links to more on Qatar crisis

June 11, 2017

KUWAIT — Kuwait’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Qatar was ready to listen to the concerns of other countries in the Gulf, state news agency KUNA reported, and that his country would continue its efforts to patch a rift within the Gulf.

“(Kuwait) affirms the readiness of the brothers in Qatar to understand the reality of the qualms and concerns of their brothers and to heed the noble endeavors to enhance security and stability,” KUNA quoted the Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as saying.

“The state of Kuwait will not abandon its efforts and will continue its good will efforts to patch the rift and find a solution that will deal with the root cause of the causes of the dispute… in the brotherly relations,” he added.

(Reporting By Noah Browning, editing by Sami Aboudi)

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German Foreign Minister Warns Qatar Crisis Could Lead to War

June 10, 2017

BERLIN — The dispute between Qatar and other Arab states could lead to war, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a newspaper on Saturday, adding that he still saw a chance to defuse the tension.

“There is a danger that this dispute could lead to war,” Gabriel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, citing what he called a “dramatic” harshness in relations between allied and neighbouring countries in the Gulf.

Gabriel said personal talks this week with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Kuwait underscored his concerns.

“After my talks this week, I know how serious the situation is, but I believe there are also good chances to make progress.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Kuwaiti Emir Heads to Dubai in Qatar Row Mediation-State News Agency

June 7, 2017

DUBAI — Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is traveling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, state news agency KUNA reported on Thursday. The visit is part of the emir’s effort to mediate the inter-Arab row after Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE cut ties with Qatar.

(Reporting By Noah Browning; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Qatar seeks Kuwaiti mediation after powerful Arab nations shun it

June 6, 2017

Reuters

Tue Jun 6, 2017 | 4:36am EDT

Image result for qatar, photos

By Tom Finn and Sylvia Westall | DOHA/DUBAI

Qatar’s ruler postponed an address to his country on Tuesday over its sudden and damaging diplomatic isolation from other leading Arab nations, in order to allow Kuwait some time and room to mediate.

In a sign of the potential consequences for the Qatari economy, a number of banks in the region began stepping back from business dealings with Qatar.

Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said Doha was ready for mediation efforts after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations in a coordinated move.

Image result for Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani,, photos

They said the break was prompted by Qatari support for Islamist militants and Iran, something Doha vehemently denies.

Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later and transport links were shut down.

Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained ties with Qatar, and decided to postpone the speech, the minister told Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Doha has also decided not to retaliate against its neighbors’ moves, he said.

In one sign of the impact of the measures, some Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates commercial banks were holding off on doing business with Qatari banks, such as letters of credit, because of the diplomatic rift, banking sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Qatar’s stock market rebounded in early trade on Tuesday after plunging the previous day but the Qatari riyal fell against the U.S. dollar.

Qatar wants to give Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah the ability to “proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Kuwait’s emir had an important role in a previous Gulf rift in 2014 and Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim “regards him as a parent and respects his desire to postpone any speech or step until there is a clearer picture of the crisis,” Al Jazeera quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Sheikh Mohammed told the channel that the measures taken against Qatar affected its citizens and family ties in the Gulf Arab region, but said Doha would not take counter measures.

He said Qatar “believes such differences between sister countries must be resolved through dialogue” and proposed holding a session to exchange views and narrow differences, while respecting each other’s views, without giving details.

Kuwait’s emir, who has spent decades as a diplomat and mediator in regional disputes, hosted Sheikh Tamim last week as the crisis was brewing.

Monday’s decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from traveling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it. Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days. Qatari citizens also have 14 days to leave those countries.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.

For graphic on Qatar and LNG market, click: bit.ly/2syvLUi

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Tom Finn in Doha, Tom Arnold, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Celine Aswad in Dubai, Writing by Sylvia Westall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Qatar in ‘chaos’ as Arab powers halt food supply — Qatar Says Ready for Mediation to Ease Gulf Rift

June 6, 2017

DUBAI — Qatar’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Doha was ready for mediation efforts after the Arab world’s biggest powers severed ties with it, adding that Qatar’s ruler had delayed a speech in order to give Kuwait a chance to ease regional tensions.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday. Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later and transport links were shut down.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait, which has maintained diplomatic ties with Qatar, and decided to postpone a speech to the Qatari people as requested.

Doha also decided not to retaliate against the measures.

Qatar wants to give Kuwait’s Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah the ability to “proceed and communicate with the parties to the crisis and to try to contain the issue,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in comments to Qatar-based Al Jazeera television.

Kuwait’s emir had an important role in a previous Gulf rift in 2014 and Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim “regards him as a parent and respects his desire to postpone any speech or step until there is a clearer picture of the crisis,” Al Jazeera quoted the foreign minister as saying.

Sheikh Mohammed told the channel that the measures taken against Qatar had an “unprecedented impact” on its citizens and on family relations in the Gulf Arab region, but said Doha will not take counter measures.

Qatar “believes such differences between sister countries must be resolved through dialogue.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba, Writing by Sylvia Westall Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he can mediate.  © AFP/File

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Qatar in ‘chaos’ as Arab powers halt food supply to country amid diplomatic rift

Crowds of people line up at supermarket checkouts

There are chaotic scenes in Qatari supermarkets today as people race to stockpile groceries after some of the Arab world’s biggest powers cut ties with the country for supporting extremism.

Key points:

  • Qataris stockpile food supplies amid border closure
  • UAE and Saudi Arabia stop sugar exports to Qatar
  • Gulf neighbours accuse Qatar of funding Islamist extremism

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar yesterday, with Yemen, the Maldives and one of Libya’s three rival governments following suit.

It is being accused of providing funding to Islamists — an allegation which it vehemently denies.

In an unprecedented move, fellow Gulf states have closed all transport links with Qatar and ordered their citizens out of the country. They have given Qataris abroad 14 days to return home.

Now there are fears the shutting down of all land, sea and air links will trigger supply shortages to Qatar — a nation that is located on the Gulf peninsular and relies heavily on its only land border with Saudi Arabia to access food.

In fact, about 80 per cent of Qatar’s food requirements are sourced via bigger Gulf Arab neighbours.

Sure enough, as the border closed, supply difficulties quickly developed.

Thousands of trucks carrying food were reported to have been stuck at the Saudi border, unable to make the sole overland frontier crossing into Qatar.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia stopped exports of white sugar into Qatar — a potential hit to consumers during the holy month of Ramadan when demand is high.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Photos of long lines, empty shelves at Carrefour grocery stores in following crisis. Qatar gets 40% of food supply by road via Saudi

Supermarket shelves were left looking bare as people rushed to stockpile food amid the uncertainty.

“People have stormed into the supermarket hoarding food, especially imported ones,” Eva Tobaji, an expatriate resident in Doha, said after returning from shopping.

“It’s chaos — I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

A supermarket customer told Al Jazeera: “I think it’s better to stock up on things my family and I need rather than being left out”.

Trade sources pointed to the likelihood of shortages growing in Qatar until the crisis eased.

An Iranian official said his country could export food to Qatar by sea, as Saudi Arabia and three other nations moved to isolate the gas-rich nation after severing diplomatic ties and accusing it of supporting terrorism.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Reza Nourani, chairman of the union of exporters of agricultural products, as saying that food shipments sent from Iran could reach Qatar in 12 hours.

The rift has caused Qatar’s stock market index to sink 7.3 per cent, with some of the market’s top blue chips hardest hit, and some Egyptian banks have said they will suspend dealing with Qatari banks.

AP/Reuters

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-06/arab-powers-halt-food-supply-to-qatar-amid-gulf-diplomatic-rift/8593506

Trump Urges Muslims to Fight Extremism in Saudi Speech — Plus Photos of Events in Riyadh

May 21, 2017

As he continues his first overseas trip as president, Trump aims to strike a conciliatory tone toward Muslims

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and suit

President Trump speaks at the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Updated May 21, 2017 11:24 a.m. ET

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—President Donald Trump called Sunday on Muslim leaders across the globe to confront “the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds,” in a conciliatory speech aimed at corralling Arab allies around a new, combined effort to combat terrorism.

His speech at an Arab-Islamic-American summit in the Saudi capital marked a dramatic departure from rhetoric during his presidential campaign, most notably was his deliberate decision not to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” as he pointedly did as a candidate.

Instead, Mr. Trump sought to draw a distinction between religion and terrorism carried out in its name. It “is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations” but “a battle between good and evil,” he said.

“Terrorists do not worship God. They worship death,” Mr. Trump said.

“Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear,” he added, if you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief and your soul will be fully condemned.”

Mr. Trump sought to underpin his pursuit of a renewed campaign against terrorism with new measures aimed at combating groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State, and countering Iranian aggression in the Middle East.

Arab leaders agreed take steps to target terrorism financing, and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia opened a center in Riyadh focused on that effort. The U.S. also agreed to some $400 billion in economic investments with Saudi Arabia including $110 billion in new arms sales to Riyadh.

As president, Mr. Trump issued two travel bans targeting Muslim-majority countries he deemed terrorism threats, fulfilling one of his signature campaign promises. Both executive orders were halted after being challenged and tied up in U.S. courts.

In a February speech to both chambers of Congress, Mr. Trump said his administration was “taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism,” stressing the last three words.

Roger Stone, a Republican operative who was closely involved with Mr. Trump’s campaign, responded to a photograph of King Salman placing a medal around the president’s neck by writing on Twitter: “Candidly, this makes me want to puke.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” He also said his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, was “afraid” to say it, though she had said she would.

While many Saudis have been delighted by Mr. Trump’s visit, and he received a warm welcome from the royal family, the reaction from Arabs across the region has been more critical.

From Islamists to pro-democracy advocates, many have responded harshly to a U.S. president who has spoken of a ban on Muslims. Others simply saw Mr. Trump’s elaborate reception from the Saudi monarchy as another sign that the administration wouldn’t push the region’s autocrats toward democratic reform any time soon.

U.S. officials didn’t publicly raise human-rights abuses by Saudi Arabia that the American government has criticized in the past.

For the White House, Mr. Trump’s speech on Islam was a chance for the new president to persuade a wider audience that his views aren’t hostile to the religion, as he tries to kick-start closer cooperation with Muslim leaders to combat terrorism.

Sunday’s summit could also help Saudi Arabia convey a message to the wider world about its commitment to fighting religious extremism. The country, which practices an austere interpretation of Sunni Islam, has struggled to shed its reputation as a hub of radical Islam since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America. The perpetrators were mostly Saudi citizens.

Since then, Riyadh has emerged as one of Washington’s closest counterterrorism allies, and under King Salman has sought to lead regional efforts against terrorism.

The Saudi monarchy—eager to cultivate better ties with the U.S. under Mr. Trump than it had under Mr. Obama—has largely overlooked some of new president’s past positions. Saudi Arabia sees the U.S. as a vital partner in efforts to counter the influence of rival Iran in the region, and has enthusiastically welcomed the new administration’s more hard-line stance toward Tehran.

The World Bank announced at an event with the president’s daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged a combined $100 million to a fund that will assist women entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi take part in a bilateral meeting in Riyadh on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi take part in a bilateral meeting in Riyadh on Sunday. PHOTO:MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
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Mr. Trump held individual meetings Sunday with leaders from Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt and Kuwait. The summit included representatives from the six Persian Gulf countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Noticeably absent from Sunday’s summit is the Sunni kingdom’s regional adversary: Shiite Iran, with whom Riyadh severed diplomatic relations in early 2016. Tensions between the two countries, which back opposite sides of conflicts in Yemen and Syria, have played out across the Middle East, heightening tensions between Sunnis and Shiites.

Mr. Trump is seeking warmer U.S. relations in the Middle East, in part to push for a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians and a broader thaw between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It also wants America’s Persian Gulf allies to take more of a leading role to counter Iran’s influence and help stabilize the volatile region.

Mr. Trump noted the tense relations as he met with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, saying “there won’t be strain with this administration.”

He told the king the two countries have “many of the same things in common.” The king replied that they have a “very good foundation of mutual understanding and strategy” that has “led to a great stability in the region.”

Write to Carol E. Lee at carol.lee@wsj.com and Margherita Stancati at margherita.stancati@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-saudi-speech-to-mark-bid-to-ease-muslim-tensions-1495359283

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President Trump speaks at the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
President Trump speaks at the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Trump attended a meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh on Sunday.
President Trump attended a meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders in Riyadh on Sunday. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud waits to receive Mr. Trump for the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud waits to receive Mr. Trump for the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
Mr. Trump, flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, meets with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Mr. Trump, flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, meets with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
Mr. Trump pauses during a meeting with leaders at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit.
Mr. Trump pauses during a meeting with leaders at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit. EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
First lady Melania Trump plays with children during a visit to the American International School in the Saudi capital.
First lady Melania Trump plays with children during a visit to the American International School in the Saudi capital.GIUSEPPE CACACE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
A worker in Riyadh walks past a balloon with a U.S. flag on it as part of welcome celebrations ahead of the visit of Mr. Trump.
A worker in Riyadh walks past a balloon with a U.S. flag on it as part of welcome celebrations ahead of the visit of Mr. Trump. HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS
Mr. Trump and King Salman arriving for a reception ahead of a banquet at Murabba Palace in Riyadh.
Mr. Trump and King Salman arriving for a reception ahead of a banquet at Murabba Palace in Riyadh. BANDAR AL-JALOUD/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Mr. Trump is welcomed by Saudi King Salman on Saturday.
Mr. Trump is welcomed by Saudi King Salman on Saturday. BANDAR AL-JALOUD/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
King Salman gives Mr. Trump the kingdom’s highest honor, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal.
King Salman gives Mr. Trump the kingdom’s highest honor, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal. SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
White House senior adviser Jared Kushnerr and his wife, Ivanka Trump, arrive at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushnerr and his wife, Ivanka Trump, arrive at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh. MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGE
Mr. Trump greets diplomats at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh.
Mr. Trump greets diplomats at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh. SAUDI ROYAL PALACE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGE
Mr. Trump and King Salman stop for coffee.
Mr. Trump and King Salman stop for coffee. MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
From left, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross take part in a bilateral meeting with King Salman in Riyadh.
From left, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross take part in a bilateral meeting with King Salman in Riyadh. MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
In the front row, from left, Abu Dhabi‘s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, U.S. President Donald Trump, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Jordan’s King Abdullah II at a summit in Riyadh on Sunday.
In the front row, from left, Abu Dhabi‘s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, U.S. President Donald Trump, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Jordan’s King Abdullah II at a summit in Riyadh on Sunday. JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
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