President Barack Obama has opened a summit in the US with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab allies, seeking to convince them of US commitment to their security despite deep concern among Arab leaders about US efforts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran.
Hosting the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a rare summit on Thursday at the Camp David presidential retreat, Obama faced the challenge of allaying their fears of US disengagement at a time of Middle East upheaval while also pressing the Gulf states to work together in their own defence.
The GCC is comprised of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
In a media briefing, Ben Rhodes, US deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, said the leaders discussed the threat to the GCC from Iran, as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, besides ongoing regional conflicts in the region, including Syria, Yemen and Libya.
“The president and his team were able to provide an update on the status of the nuclear negotiations … and also Iran’s destabilising actions in the region, which touch upon the security of our GCC partners,” Rhodes said.
He said the US had set out a range of strategies to help the GCC countries deal with Iran.
“We’re looking at what we can do to expedite the provision of support and capacity-building to the GCC in relation to ballistic missiles, maritime security, special operations, counterterrorism and border security,” Rhodes said.
He said Obama had assured the GCC states that the nuclear agreement reached in Lausanne, Swizerland, was limited to Iran’s nuclear programme only and not other issues.
Source: The Punch