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Saudi king to skip US-Gulf summit

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King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud  of Saudi Arabia
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will not join other leaders of Gulf states for a summit with US President Barack Obama scheduled for next week, the Saudi embassy in Washington DC has said.

The Saudi monarch will instead send Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif, who is also the deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, for the meeting between the leaders of the US and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — the embassy said in a statement posted on its website on Sunday.

Obama is scheduled to meet with the GCC leaders first at the White House Wednesday and then at Camp David, a presidential retreat in the state of Maryland, the following day.

The summit, which comes amid deep concerns about Washington’s ongoing nuclear talks with Iran and Tehran’s growing influence in the region, is expected to boost US security commitment to its Gulf partners.

The Saudi king is also sending Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is serving as second deputy prime minister and minister of defence as well, to the summit, Xinhua new agency cited the Saudi embassy as saying, quoting Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir.

Iran and P5+1 group of major world powers, comprising the US, Britain, China, France, Russia plus Germany, are racing against the June 30 deadline for a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme after negotiating a framework deal in early April.

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