Camp David, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir described Thursday’s US-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, which saw US pledges of “ironclad” support for Gulf regional security, as “historic and unprecedented.”
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat following the conclusion of the summit at Camp David, Jubeir affirmed that US President Obama and GCC senior officials and heads of state had discussed ways of strengthening strategic, military and security ties between the GCC and Washington.
He revealed that Riyadh has secured a “very good understanding” with the US regarding joint military training agreements and the development of early warning and ballistic missile defense systems for the GCC.
The US and Saudi delegations also discussed the ongoing situation in Yemen, where Shi’ite Houthi rebels—backed by Iran—remain in control of large swathes of the country, while the legitimate government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is in exile in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is set to hold peace talks in Riyadh between Yemeni political parties on Sunday to move toward a political solution to the crisis.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls on all Yemeni parties to attend the Riyadh Conference to negotiate and reach a political solution in Yemen, under the auspices of the UN,” Jubeir said.
The US and GCC states also agreed to continue to work together to oppose Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) across the region, particularly the threat represented by foreign fighters.
The summit at the presidential retreat of Camp David was part of ongoing US attempts to reassure Gulf allies about Washington’s rapprochement with Iran. Obama’s bid to secure a nuclear deal with Tehran, along with Iran’s ongoing support for the Houthis in Yemen, has raised concern among Arab Gulf leaders regarding Washington’s evolving foreign policy in the region.
Jubeir confirmed that one of the major topics of conversation at the summit was the threat posed by Iran to the region. “We found complete understanding with US President Obama regarding the danger of Iranian interference in regional affairs, and he is well aware of everything that Iran is doing, from supporting terrorism to seeking to destabilize regional states,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Obama briefed the GCC leaders on the latest developments regarding the US-Iran nuclear negotiations, reassuring them that the main objective is to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear arms, Jubeir said.
“US officials clarified that any nuclear deal will be subject to Iran accepting strict and unprecedented international inspections [of its nuclear sites]. The deal will also impose genuine restrictions on Iran and that the easing of sanctions will be tied to the extent to which Iran abides by the terms of the agreement and its non-interference in the domestic affairs of regional states,” the Saudi foreign minister added.
“All the GCC states are comfortable regarding what was said at the talks. All GCC states, and indeed all countries around the world, will welcome any agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear arms,” Jubeir concluded.