Gulf, US commanders to hold talks in Kuwait

Kuwait: Gulf Arab army chiefs, including Qatar’s military commander, will meet with US Central Command officials for talks on defence cooperation this week, a Kuwaiti official said Sunday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to brief the press, an official with Kuwait’s defence ministry said army commanders of the Gulf states — including boycott-hit Qatar — would hold talks Monday in a scheduled meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council Supreme Military Committee in Kuwait City.

In June 2017, powerhouses Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with Egypt and Bahrain, announced they were cutting ties with Qatar, accusing the emirate of ties to both Sunni Islamist extremists and Shiite Iran.

Qatar denies the allegations.

The 15-month Qatar boycott is the worst political crisis to hit the oil-rich Gulf. Kuwait has led mediation efforts in the crisis.

The Gulf commanders will also meet representatives of the US Central Command and those of the Egyptian and Jordanian armies on Wednesday, the Kuwaiti official said.

The meetings will come just over a week after Pentagon chief James Mattis and Centcom head General Joseph Votel held talks in the Gulf.

State news agency KUNA has confirmed defence talks this week in Kuwait city.

In July, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid al-Jarallah said his country was considering US proposals for a strategic alliance in the Middle East to counter Iran’s influence in the region.