September 2, 2018 / 8:28 AM / in 2 months

Kuwait emir announces visit to Washington, talks with Trump

CAIRO (Reuters) - Kuwait’s ruler will travel to Washington on Monday for a working visit and hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, the state news agency KUNA announced on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah addresses a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

The White House said in a statement the leaders would discuss trade, investment and security cooperation in their Sept. 5 meeting.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah has led mediation efforts to resolve a year-long dispute between Gulf Arab neighbours after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar.

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The four countries accuse Doha of supporting terrorism and cosying up to regional foe Iran. Doha denies those charges and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty.

Trump publicly sided with the Saudis and Emiratis early on in the crisis but then began pushing for a resolution to restore Gulf unity and maintain a united front against Iran.

Reuters reported in July that the administration was quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the region, citing U.S. and Arab officials.

The administration’s hope is that the effort, tentatively known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance, might be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled for Washington on Oct. 12-13, the sources said, though the Qatar rift could present a big obstacle.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; writing by Stephen Kalin; editing by Alison Williams

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