Obama seeks to reassure Gulf allies on Iran, security at summit

Obama welcomes Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as he plays host to leaders and delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries at the White House in WashingtonBy Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton CAMP DAVID, Md. (Reuters) – President Barack Obama opened a summit with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies on Thursday, seeking to convince them of Washington’s commitment to their security despite deep concern among Arab leaders about U.S. efforts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran. Hosting the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council for a rare summit at the Camp David presidential retreat, Obama faced the challenge of allaying their fears of U.S. disengagement at a time of Middle East upheaval while also pressing the oil-rich Gulf states to work together in their own defense. Tension over U.S. policy toward Tehran, Syria’s civil war and the Arab Spring uprisings will loom over the meetings, which have already been clouded by the absence of most of the Gulf’s ruling monarchs, who instead sent lower-level officials. Saudi King Salman pulled out, sending Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his place in a move widely interpreted as a snub that reflected Gulf frustration with the Obama administration.

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