White House postpones Trump’s Gulf summit amid regional tensions: report
The Trump administration is reportedly postponing a planned meeting this spring with members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council amid ongoing disputes among Arab nations.
Reuters reported Tuesday that the summit has been delayed until September for multiple reasons, with two officials saying it was postponed in part because CIA Director Mike Pompeo has not yet been confirmed as secretary of State.
President Trump fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of State last month and appointed Pompeo to the position, which requires Senate confirmation.
Other sources told Reuters that the summit is being pushed off until there’s progress in a dispute between Qatar and other Gulf nations, though a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council disputed that.
Countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed off their borders in June 2017. Those countries, and others, have accused the Qatari government of supporting extremist groups.
The report comes after Trump spoke with both Qatari and Saudi leaders in recent days.
The president spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Monday. Trump “emphasized the importance of resolving the Gulf dispute and restoring a united Gulf Cooperation Council to counter Iranian malign influence and defeat terrorists and extremists,” according to a White House readout of the call.
On Tuesday, Trump spoke with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, and the two talked about “the obstacles to restoring unity in the Gulf Cooperation Council,” the White House said.
“The President and the Emir agreed on the importance of regional unity to address security threats and to ensure prosperity of the people in the region,” the White House said.