President Barack Obama recently hosted a summit at Camp David for leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, member states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. Issues discussed included military cooperation, the joint effort against ISIL and other terrorist groups, the comprehensive nuclear accord being negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 nations, and regional conflicts, including in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
In a joint statement that came out of the summit, the U.S. and the GCC “underscored their mutual commitment to a U.S.–GCC strategic partnership to build closer relations in all fields, including defense and security cooperation, and develop collective approaches to regional issues in order to advance their shared interest in stability and prosperity.”
Speaking at the summit, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S.’s “iron-clad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners.” The United States,” he added, “is prepared to work jointly with GCC member states to deter and confront an external threat to any GCC state’s territorial integrity that is inconsistent with the U.N. charter.”
President Obama noted that considerable time was spent discussing Iran, and expressed pleasure that the GCC joined the U.S. in agreeing “that a comprehensive, verifiable solution that fully addresses the regional and international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program is in the security interests of the international community.”
President Obama emphasized that, regardless of the outcome of the nuclear negotiations, concerns would remain over Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region. He emphasized that the enhanced security cooperation agreed to by the U.S. and the GCC will help create a way to address this threat and others. But he noted, “The purpose of security cooperation is not to perpetuate any long-term confrontation with 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 and abides by international rules and norms.”
President Obama also emphasized that events in the Middle East since the Arab Spring “are a reminder that true and lasting security includes governance that serves all citizens” and that the U.S. will continue to speak out on behalf of human rights and strong civil societies.
President Obama hailed the commitments made at the Camp David summit for their potential to “mark the beginning of a new area of cooperation between our countries – a closer, stronger partnership that advances our mutual security for decades to come.”