Donald Trump calls for 'strong, united' GCC in call with Emir of Qatar: White House

US President Donald Trump has spoken on the phone with the Emir of Qatar about regional counter-terrorism measures. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2018

Donald Trump calls for 'strong, united' GCC in call with Emir of Qatar: White House

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has reiterated his support for a strong, united Gulf Cooperation Council that is focused on countering regional threats in a call with the Emir of Qatar, the White House said.
The White House said in a statement that Trump and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani spoke about "action to counter terrorism and extremism in all forms."
"The leaders discussed areas in which the United States and Qatar can partner to bring more stability to the region, counter malign Iranian influence, and defeat terrorism," it said.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, who along with Qatar are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, plus non-GCC member Egypt cut off diplomatic, travel and trade ties with Qatar last year, accusing it of supporting militants and Iran. Doha denies the charges.
In June, Trump had called on Qatar to stop funding groups that commit terrorism, saying the Gulf nation had historically done so "at a very high level."


Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

Updated 34 min 43 sec ago

Indonesia’s Indrawati to stay on as finance minister

  • Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts
  • Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016

JAKARTA: Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday she had been asked by President Joko Widodo to stay on in her post as his new cabinet takes shape for a second five-year term in office.

Widodo has since Monday tapped more than a dozen candidates for ministerial posts, including his presidential election rival Prabowo Subianto, who looks set to be defense minister.

The candidates — all wearing white shirts — have come to the presidential palace to be interviewed by Widodo, with most declining to confirm the positions offered ahead of an official announcement expected on Wednesday.

After meeting Widodo, Indrawati said she had agreed to stay on as finance minister and to ensure policies supported the president’s priorities such as improving human resources, creating jobs and executing government budgets well.

“Indonesia I think is facing a very dynamic and uncertain global economy and an economic slowdown that is pressuring the whole world,” Indrawati said.

“Therefore, a continued policy is needed in order to be able to guard our economy from the challenge of this global slowdown,” she said, noting she also discussed ways to narrow Indonesia’s current account and trade deficits.

Indrawati, a former managing director of the World Bank, has been finance minister in Southeast Asia’s largest economy since 2016, spearheading tax reform efforts, seeking to capitalize on a tax amnesty program in 2016-2017. She is now one of the longest serving finance ministers in Indonesia, having also held the post in the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Sri Mulyani is seen as a key architect behind the fiscal discipline in recent years and many wish for her continued leadership in driving deeper fiscal reforms,” Bank of America wrote in a note.

The make-up of the cabinet is being closely watched to see how many technocrats — who are more likely to fall in with Widodo’s plans for boosting growth and investment — were included.

Other ministerial candidates who came to the palace on Tuesday included Basuki Hadimuljono, who is credited with driving infrastructure projects as public works minister in Widodo’s first term, and Siti Nurbaya Bakar, environment minister in the first term.

On Monday, Nadiem Makarim, the chief executive of tech startup Gojek and media tycoon Erick Thohir, a former chairman of Italian soccer club Inter Milan, were among those confirming they had been asked to join the cabinet.

Speaking to media ahead of his inauguration on Sunday, Widodo said around 16 ministers in the new cabinet would come from political parties out of an anticipated 34 posts.