US ‘committed to partners in Gulf,’ secretary of state tells Arab ministers

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The US remains committed to its Gulf Arab partners, at a time of rapidly shifting regional alliances, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Gulf diplomats in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Blinken spoke at a GCC ministerial meeting in Riyadh after talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

“The United States is in this region to say we remain deeply invested in partnering with all of you,” Blinken said at the opening of the US-GCC ministerial meeting on strategic partnership.

“The GCC is the core of our vision for a Middle East that is more stable, more secure, more prosperous.”

Key regional issues were on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, including conflicts in Yemen, Sudan, Syria and the Palestinian territories. “Together, we are working to achieve a … resolution to the conflict in Yemen,”and to “continue to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior,” including seizures of tankers in international waters, Blinken told the GCC ministers.

“We are determined to find a political solution in Syria that maintains its unity and sovereignty and meets the aspirations of its people,” he added.

Shortly before the meeting, Blinken held private talks with Prince Faisal. The two “resolved to continue to work together to counter terrorism, to support efforts to bring about a lasting peace in Yemen, and to promote stability, security, de-escalation, and integration in the region,” the US State Department said. “They pledged to continue their strong cooperation to end the fighting in Sudan.”

Earlier, after his arrival in Jeddah on Tuesday at the start of a three-day visit, Blinken met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Their meeting, which lasted about 100 minutes, touched on topics including Saudi Arabia’s support for US evacuations from Sudan, and the need for political dialogue in Yemen.

The two men discussed “our shared priorities, including countering terrorism through the Global Coalition against Daesh, achieving peace in Yemen, and deepening economic and scientific cooperation,” Blinken said.

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