Camp David (Maryland), Asharq Al-Awsat—US President Barack Obama pledged “ironclad” American support for Gulf regional security at the US-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Camp David on Thursday.
Speaking following the meeting with senior Gulf officials and heads of state, the US President said: “I am reaffirming our ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners.”
“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,” Obama said.
The joint US-GCC statement issued following the summit contained US pledges to bolster its security cooperation with the GCC on counter-terrorism, maritime security, cyber-security and ballistic missile defense.
The joint statement stressed that the US would use any and all means at its disposal in order to carry out an “appropriate” response to any external threat to the GCC’s territory, including “military force.”
“The United States and GCC member states oppose and will work together to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and stressed the need for Iran to engage the region according to the principles of good neighborliness, strict non-interference in domestic affairs, and respect for territorial integrity . . . And for Iran to take concrete, practical steps to build trust and resolve its differences with neighbors by peaceful means,” the statement said.
The joint statement also reaffirmed US-GCC commitments to counter Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) across the region.
Thursday’s meeting at the presidential retreat 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 Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen, has raised concern among Arab Gulf leaders towards Washington’s evolving foreign policy in the region.
However President Obama stressed that Washington’s position towards the GCC will not change, and that the US remains a steadfast ally. Speaking to reporters following the summit, and flanked by GCC leaders, Obama reiterated: “The United States will stand with our GCC partners against external attack and will deepen and extend the cooperation that we have.”
“Let me underscore, the United States keeps our commitments,” Obama said.