February 28, 2018 / 12:58 AM / 24 days ago

Trump discusses Iran in calls with Saudi, UAE leaders: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump discussed Iran’s “destabilizing activities” and other security and economic issues in separate telephone calls with senior Saudi and Emirati leaders on Tuesday, the White House said.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks up during an event held to announce a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) initiative at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In calls with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, Trump thanked them for highlighting ways that Gulf Arab states “can better counter Iranian destabilizing activities and defeat terrorists and extremists,” the White House said.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, along with Bahrain and Egypt, cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and their arch-rival Iran. The United States is trying to resolve the dispute.

FILE PHOTO: Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

Qatar denies the charges and says the four Arab countries aim to curtail its sovereignty.

The two crown princes, as well as Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, are planning to visit Trump for bilateral meetings in March and April, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

The agenda for the meetings will include setting up a summit of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, the official said, which Washington hopes will be held later this year, as well as Middle East peace and Iran.

Trump also discussed enhancing bilateral partnerships on security and economic issues with the Saudi and Abu Dhabi crown princes, the White House said.

Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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