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Obama Invites Middle East Leaders To White House


President Barack Obama has invited the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council states to the White House and then to Camp David.

The White House said in a statement on April 17 that Obama will meet with the leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates in the White House on May 13 and then at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, on May 14

The statement said the meetings "will be an opportunity for the leaders to discuss ways to enhance their partnership and deepen security cooperation."

The meeting was announced in early April by Obama, who is seeking to reassure Gulf states following a framework accord reached on Tehran's contested nuclear program earlier in the month.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia fears its regional Shi'ite rival Iran will continue to develop an atomic bomb after the sanctions that are strangling Iran's economy are lifted.

Last month, a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes in Yemen against the allegedly Iranian-backed Shi'ite rebels fighting Yemeni forces.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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