US defense chief lays ground for Obama meeting with Gulf allies

RIYADH - US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his Gulf Arab counterparts met in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss ways to counter Iran and fight the Islamic State group, laying the ground for President Barack Obama's arrival in Saudi Arabia later in the day.
Obama will meet Saudi King Salman on Wednesday before a summit with all the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also in Riyadh, on Thursday, with shared security and defense issues likely to dominate the agenda.
Obama and Carter will seek to reassure the GCC, which groups Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, that Washington still shares their interests and will continue to ensure their security, US officials have said.
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