US drops bid to arrange Obama summit with divided Gulf states

By REUTERS
March 21, 2014 22:42
2 minute read.

 
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WASHINGTON - The White House has abandoned efforts to arrange a summit with Gulf Arab leaders during President Barack Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia next week because of divisions with the group of regional US allies, Obama's top national security aide said on Friday.

Obama will go ahead with his scheduled talks with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh next Friday, at the end of a trip to Europe that is expected to be dominated by the Ukraine crisis.In an unprecedented move within the Gulf Cooperation Council of allied monarchies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on March 5.

The three GCC states are infuriated by Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement they see as a dangerous political enemy in their countries as well as in Egypt. They are also angry over Doha's backing for more radical Islamist groups in Syria.

Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, said the White House weeks ago had considered holding a GCC summit in Riyadh and began "preliminary consultations" but then abandoned the idea.

"The situation between and among the members of the GCC has grown more complex of late," she told reporters at a briefing to preview Obama's trip. "And while we maintain very strong and cooperative relationships with each of the GCC countries, we didn't think that from their point of view that the time was optimal for a collective meeting."US drops bid to arrange Obama summit with divided Gulf states

WASHINGTON - The White House has abandoned efforts to arrange a summit with Gulf Arab leaders during President Barack Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia next week because of divisions with the group of regional US allies, Obama's top national security aide said on Friday.



Obama will go ahead with his scheduled talks with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh next Friday, at the end of a trip to Europe that is expected to be dominated by the Ukraine crisis.

In an unprecedented move within the Gulf Cooperation Council of allied monarchies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar on March 5.

The three GCC states are infuriated by Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement they see as a dangerous political enemy in their countries as well as in Egypt. They are also angry over Doha's backing for more radical Islamist groups in Syria.

Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, said the White House weeks ago had considered holding a GCC summit in Riyadh and began "preliminary consultations" but then abandoned the idea.

"The situation between and among the members of the GCC has grown more complex of late," she told reporters at a briefing to preview Obama's trip. "And while we maintain very strong and cooperative relationships with each of the GCC countries, we didn't think that from their point of view that the time was optimal for a collective meeting."

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