US President Donald Trump holds talks with Gulf leaders

21 May 2017, 07:09 PM
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump held talks with Gulf leaders on Sunday, a day after Washington asked Iran to dismantle its "network of terrorism".

The meeting on the second day of Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, part of his first foreign tour since taking office, came hours before the US president is scheduled to address an Arab Islamic American Summit.

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council posed for a photo with Trump before they walked into their meeting. The GCC groups Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, all of which are traditional allies of Washington.

Most GCC monarchies accuse Tehran of meddling in their internal affairs and want Washington to be tougher with Iran, which secured a landmark nuclear deal with world powers when Trump's predecessor Barack Obama was in office. They consider Tehran to be a destablising factor in the region.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday demonstrated a tougher position on Tehran, saying multi-billion-dollar defence deals signed with Riyadh aim to protect Saudi Arabia from a "malign Iranian influence."

In a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, Tillerson urged newly re-elected IranianPresident Hassan Rouhani to dismantle his country's "networkof terrorism" and end "ballistic missile testing."

Trump, accused of using anti-Muslim rhetoric on the election campaign trail, is later expected to tell Muslim leaders of his "hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam." 

With PTI inputs

First Published: Sunday, May 21, 2017 06:55 PM
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