(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh yesterday.
DOHA/RIYADH: Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Riyadh yesterday to attend a key GCC summit with US President Barack Obama which begins today. The Emir and his delegation were welcomed at Riyadh Air Base Airport by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and other top Saudi officials.
The Emir was also greeted by Crown Prince Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Governor of Riyadh Region Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Qatar’s Ambassador Sheikh Abdullah bin Thamer Al Thani. Emir later participated in the GCC - Morocco summit which was held at Al Diryah Palace.
Today’s summit will discuss challenges facing the GCC states especially in the context of the Iranian intervention in the region Saudi officials said yesterday. As a prelude to the summit GCC Defence Ministers held a meeting with US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Riyadh yesterday.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz who is also Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defence said that the summit is taking place under major challenges facing the world and the region. He highlighted the most important challenges as terrorism political instability and the Iranian interferences in the affairs of the countries in the region.
The meeting will focus on efforts to meet these challenges together through the long and deep-rooted partnership that binds the GCC states and the US he added. “Today we must work seriously to confront these challenges. It is only by working together we will get through all the obstacles that we face” the Saudi Press Agency quoted Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz as saying.
Ashton Carter praised the distinguished relations between the US and the Gulf countries over the years which he said have contributed to enhancing security in the region at all levels. “Our concerns now are focused on crises that Iraq Syria and Yemen are facing” said Carter.
Addressing the meeting GCC Secretary General Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani praised the willingness of both sides to strengthen cooperation and friendly relations in various fields.
He stressed the importance of defence cooperation between the GCC states and US in the light of the current developments and security challenges facing the region including the threat of terrorism and the continued Iranian interventions to destabilise the security and stability of the region.
Al Zayani stressed that the GCC states will continue to fulfill their international obligations to meet the challenges and crises that threaten the stability of the region. During the meeting GCC states and the US have agreed to deploy joint patrols to intercept ships smuggling Iranian weapons to Yemen Al Jazeera reported yesterday.
GCC states and the US would stage joint maritime patrols to stop weapons being smuggled from Iran GCC secretary general was quoted as saying. The two sides also agreed on joint cooperation towards improving Gulf missile defence special forces and maritime security but no new deals were announced Al Jazeera said.