• US, Gulf states working on new pact

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    PARIS: US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday Washington and Gulf nations were hammering out a new set of security initiatives in the Middle East to be further discussed at a summit next week.

    Kerry met in Paris with his counterparts from Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to lay the groundwork for a meeting of their leaders with President Barack Obama on May 13.

    Washington is keen to allay Gulf fears that the US is increasingly disengaging from a region riven by conflict, and that Iran could still develop a nuclear bomb under a international accord currently being finalized.

    The Paris meeting focused on crises in the Middle East as well as concerns among Gulf monarchies over Iran’s growing influence in the region.

    Kerry said the Camp David meeting would focus on “the threat of regional terrorism, the metastasizing of various terrorist organizations, the challenge of Iranian support in some of those particular conflicts.”

    “We are fleshing out a series of new commitments that will create between the US and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) a new security understanding, a new set of security initiatives that will take us beyond anything that we have had before.”

    While he did not give any details on the planned initiative he said that both sides were working together to “strengthen the moderate opposition in Syria” against the Islamic State group and Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

    Kerry also reassured the Gulf foreign ministers over nuclear talks with their rival Iran, and Washington’s commitment to the region.

    AFP

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