US military cuts drills with Gulf allies as Qatar crisis drags on
The US military has halted a number of exercises with its Gulf allies in the interests of "inclusiveness" amid a Saudi-led diplomatic crisis targeting Qatar, commanders were reported as saying on Friday.
A spokesman for Central Command, which runs US operations in the Middle East, were quoted by the Associated Press as saying that it was cutting back on exercises.
We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests
- US Central Command
"We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests," said John Thomas, a US air force colonel.
"We will continue to encourage all partners to work together toward the sort of common solutions that enable security and stability in the region."
He later suggested he was prepared to act as "mediator", and claimed he could secure a "quick deal" to end the dispute.
Trump's defence secretary, Jim Mattis, has also travelled to Doha to offer his support, while the US also agreed the sale of F-15 fighter jets to Qatar for $12bn.
Officials in Qatar did not immediately respond to AP's request for comment on the US announcement on military drills, while the boycotting nations have not acknowledged the disruption in military exercises.
Among the exercises likely to be affected is Eagle Resolve, an annual exercise held since 1999. This year's Eagle Resolve exercise, held in Kuwait in March, involved 1,000 US troops.
US and Gulf allies have regularly held joint, smaller-scale exercises in the region.