President Barack Obama will seek to convince Gulf allies including Saudi Arabia on Thursday that the United States is committed to their security despite deep concern among Arab leaders about U.S. efforts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran. Reuters was there:
During a rare, high-profile summit at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, Obama will meet with representatives from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, to discuss security cooperation.
Tension over U.S. policy toward Tehran, Syria and the Arab Spring uprisings will loom over the meetings, which have already been overshadowed by some countries’ decisions to send lower-level leaders. Saudi King Salman pulled out, sending Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman instead.
The White House has said such decisions were not snubs and has portrayed the summit as a set of working meetings rather than symbolic photo sessions. Arab leaders are concerned that lifting Western sanctions as part of a nuclear deal with Iran would empower Tehran to act in destabilizing ways in the region.
The United States and five other world powers are in talks with Tehran to curb its atomic program. The Obama administration would like GCC support for the deal to help convince a skeptical U.S. Congress it has broad backing in the region.