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US assures GCC against external threats at summit

A summit meeting between the US and Arab leaders ended Thursday with a US pledge to assist Gulf allies against external threats by any means, including militarily.

President Barack Obama met delegations from the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, to discuss a range of regional challenges including the fight against Daesh, Syrian civil war, and conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Iraq.

"The United States is prepared to work jointly with the GCC states to deter and confront an external threat to any GCC state's territorial integrity," according to a joint statement released following the summit.

In the event of aggression against any GCC member – Bahrain, Kuwait Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – the U.S. will assist by any means including, "the potential use of military force."

The leaders also pledged cooperation in building the Gulf's defense capabilities, particularly the development of a region-wide ballistic missile defense system.

In exchange, the Gulf leaders agreed to consult the U.S. when planning military action beyond GCC borders.

The meeting also included discussion regarding negotiations Iran's nuclear program and the Islamic republic's growing influence in the region.

At a press conference following the meeting, Obama said he briefed the representatives about the negotiations and added that the security cooperation with the GCC does not seek to isolate or confront Iran.

"We welcome an Iran that plays a responsible role in the region: one that takes concrete, practical steps to build trust and resolve its differences with its neighbors by peaceful means."

The president assured the GCC that "a comprehensive, verifiable deal that fully addresses the regional and international concerns about Iran's nuclear program" would be in the interest of all.

Summit participants said they were committed "to counter Iran's destabilizing activities in the region" and underlined the need for Iran's peaceful engagement in the region, according to the statement.

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AfricaAsia & AmericasBahrainIranIraqKuwaitLibyaMiddle EastNewsOmanQatarSaudi ArabiaSyriaUAEUS
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