Kerry attempts to reassure Gulf ministers in Paris meeting
US Secretary of State John Kerry met Gulf foreign ministers in Paris on Friday ahead of a summit in which President Barack Obama will seek to reassure the Arab monarchies over his Iran policy.
Fresh from a trip to Riyadh where he urged a ceasefire in Yemen, Kerry met foreign ministers from the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Kerry is accompanied by his undersecretary Wendy Sherman, the chief US negotiator in the negotiations with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme.
The talks are set to focus on the crisis in Yemen, Syria as well as the Iran dossier, according to US diplomats.
However its main aim is to prepare the upcoming summit on May 13.
The GCC leaders — including Saudi Arabia’s freshly crowned and hawkish King Salman — will visit the White House on May 13, followed the next day by a trip to the bucolic presidential retreat near Washington.
The prestigious invite comes amid deep unease over Washington’s nuclear talks with arch-foe Tehran and perceived US disengagement in the region under Obama’s administration.
Gulf states see a change in US actions in everything from a stalled State Department human rights report to Obama’s reluctance to enforce his own red line on chemical weapons in Syria.
They are also increasingly concerned about Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.