KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is scheduled to depart the country today and head to the United States on an official visit. He will be accompanied by a delegation of senior officials. HH the Amir and leaders of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are set to hold official talks with US President Barack Obama this week.
Security measures The United States and its Gulf allies will try to agree on new security measures at a summit in Washington this week to guard against destabilizing actions by Iran in the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday. The West hopes to secure a nuclear deal with Tehran by an end-of-June deadline and this has stirred anxiety among Washington’s Gulf allies who fear Iran’s intentions in the region. Iran and the Gulf monarchies are also at loggerheads in Yemen, where Saudi-led warplanes again bombed Iranian-allied Houthi rebels on Friday, though Riyadh also then announced a conditional five-day humanitarian ceasefire. After marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe at the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, Kerry hosted counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, as well as the head of the GCC. The Paris meeting set the stage for a summit this week in Washington and Camp David between US President Barack Obama and the six-nation GCC. The Obama administration faces a formidable challenge to allay Gulf Arab fears over a nuclear deal with Tehran.
New commitments “President Obama completely understands the stakes,” Kerry told a news conference, “We are fleshing out a series of new commitments that will create between the United States and the GCC a new security understanding, a new set of security initiatives. That will take us beyond anything that we have had before,” he added. US officials have told Reuters the Washington summit would create a region-wide defense system to guard against Iranian missiles and could be accompanied by enhanced security commitments, new arms sales and more joint military exercises. “It is not a one-way street, it is a twoway street, with mutual interests and mutual needs that need to be addressed,” Kerry said. “I am confident that with Camp David those views are going to take shape in a form that will greatly enhance our ability to meet the needs of our people, and the needs of all those people, who want a future that is free of terrorism...,” he added.
Enhance partnership The US Friday said summit talks between GCC leaders and Obama was a chance to enhance partnership and deepen security cooperation. “This important gathering will be an opportunity for the leadership from the United States and the GCC to discuss ways to enhance our partnership and deepen security cooperation,” a US State Department official told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). Foreign Ministers of the US and the six GCC member states met in Paris, France, earlier Friday to discuss preparations for the Camp David summit, as well as a host of issues of mutual interest.
“President Obama looks forward to welcoming leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council to meetings at the White House and Camp David,” said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The summit also presents us with a unique chance to discuss ways to resolve the multiple conflicts that have caused so much hardship and instability throughout the Middle East. Specifically, our discussions will include seeking common approaches to resolving the conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen,” he added.
The summit is also a chance to “reaffirm the US strategic partnership with the Gulf States, our shared concern about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, and our mutual commitment to take steps necessary to enhance stability in the Gulf and de-escalate tensions.” US Vice-President Joe Biden had recently said in a speech that there were 35,000 US forces in the Gulf countries “to deter aggression and defend our partners. Our commitment to their external defense remains firm.” The official reaffirmed that the US “values greatly our relationship with the GCC countries, and we look forward to an in-depth and substantive exchange on key issues at this meeting, as we have enjoyed throughout our long history of consultation and cooperation.”
Amir congratulates Cameron In other news, HH the Amir sent a cable of congratulations on Friday to British Prime Minister David Cameron after the conservative party won majority of seats in House of Commons in legislative elections. HH the Amir expressed best wishes and success on the new government, praising historic and distinguished relations between the State of Kuwait and Britain. In his cable, HH the Amir also stressed importance on his continued aspiration to strengthen such relationships and improve mutual cooperation between them in various fields. HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah also sent similar cables marking the occasion. —Agencies