President Obama announced expanded military ties with Persian Gulf nations on Thursday, as he sought to assure the anxious Arab allies that the U.S. would help protect their security in the face of mounting regional unrest and concerns about Iran’s growing influence.
At the close of a Camp David summit, Obama vowed a “new era of cooperation.” He pledged a fast-track for transfers of arms and missile defense systems, as well as expanded joint military training and other programs.
And though he did not declare a new formal security pact with the partners, he reiterated that current agreements allow the U.S. to use military force in aid of its allies if necessary. And he offered assurances that an international nuclear agreement with Iran would not leave the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council more vulnerable.
Obama spoke in a press conference following talks with members of the Gulf State Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. He was seeking to placate those countries’ concerns over whether the U.S. is committed to helping protect their security, in a time of “extraordinary changes and some great challenges.”
“I was very explicit … that the United States will stand by our GCC partners against external attack,” Obama told reporters.
Read More: Obama agrees to boost military ties with Arab partners, tries to ease Iran fears | Fox News