Washington, May 15: President Barack Obama has reassured worried Gulf allies that the US is committed to helping protect their security as the strategy of engaging Iran will not come at their expense.
"I am reaffirming our ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners," Obama said at the end of the conclusion of day-long meetings with leaders of Gulf Co-operation Council countries yesterday.
In a joint statement issued after the summit, US said it is prepared to work jointly with GCC member states to deter and confront an external threat to any GCC state's territorial integrity that is inconsistent with the UN charter.
"In the event of such aggression or the threat of such aggression, the United States stands ready to work with our GCC partners to urgently determine what actions may be appropriate, using the means at our collective disposal, including the potential use of military force for the defence of our GCC partners. And let me underscore, the US keeps our commitments," he said.
"To back up our words with deeds, we will increase our already extensive security cooperation. We will expand our military exercises and assistance to meet the full range of threats, in particular, terrorism," Obama said.
"This means more training and cooperation between our special operations forces, sharing more information and stronger border security to prevent the flow of foreign fighters and increased enforcement to prevent terrorist financing," said the US President.
"We'll step up our efforts to counter violent extremism, including online, and more broadly, we'll expand our cooperation on maritime security, and work to harden our partners' critical infrastructure," he said, adding that the US will help its Gulf allies improve their own capacity to defend themselves.
"The US will streamline and expedite the transfer of critical defence capabilities to our GCC partners. We will work together to develop an integrated GCC defence capability against ballistic missiles, including an early warning system, and we will work toward the development of rapid response capabilities to undertake missions such as counter-terrorism and peacekeeping," he said.
"We pledged to work together to try to resolve armed conflicts in the region and we have articulated core principles to guide our efforts, respect for state sovereignty, recognition that these conflicts can only be resolved politically, and acknowledgement of the importance of inclusive governance and the need to respect minorities and protect human rights," Obama added.
Obama and the leaders from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain had talks at the White House.