Category: News

Washington, DC - At the Camp David Summit in May 2015, the United States and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners– Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain – committed to establish a stronger partnership to address regional challenges.  This partnership is based on reciprocal commitments to improve the security, stability, and prosperity of the region. 

Over the past year, we have convened several U.S.-GCC minister-level meetings, and had dozens of bilateral conversations, with the aim of translating the commitments from the Camp David Summit into concrete actions. U.S and Gulf defense ministers met on April 20 in Riyadh and determined additional measures to further strengthen security cooperation, especially efforts to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Foreign ministers met most recently on April 7 in Manama, Bahrain to prepare for the April 21 U.S.-GCC Riyadh summit.  This cabinet-level engagement complements extensive leader-level outreach by the President, to include his fourth visit to Saudi Arabia – the most ever by a sitting U.S. president – and also hosting His Majesty King Salman to Washington in September 2015.

Defeating ISIL and Stabilizing the Region

The United States is working with GCC states to resolve conflicts and reduce regional tensions. 

Security Cooperation

Five working groups have been established to strengthen U.S.-GCC security cooperation, as committed at the Camp David Summit.  Each working group has convened twice, bringing together experts to discuss cooperation in the areas of: counterterrorism; ballistic missile defense; military preparedness and training; streamlining the transfer of critical defense capabilities; and cyber security.  Specialized working groups have also convened on Special Operations Forces (SOF), maritime cooperation, countering terrorist financing, and countering terrorist messaging.  Among the outcomes of these working groups and related bilateral engagements:

Additional security initiatives endorsed by leaders at the Riyadh Summit include:

Economic and Energy Cooperation

Consistent with the emphasis at the Camp David Summit on strengthening governance, leaders at the Riyadh Summit committed to launch a new ministerial-level U.S.-GCC economic and energy dialogue this year.  It will provide a forum to discuss GCC countries’ plans to adopt new policies that could make available additional resources to meet their citizens’ needs, and more broadly facilitate a dialogue on the challenges posed by low oil prices and growing youth populations.  Other potential topics for this dialogue include: steps to improve the investment environment in GCC countries; development of sovereign bond markets; reduction of fossil fuel subsidies; climate finance; and potential policy approaches to macro-economic and energy trends.  This ministerial dialogue will complement extensive U.S. bilateral economic and investment engagement with GCC members, as well as ongoing engagement with GCC countries on clean energy and climate policy.

Climate Cooperation

The United States and GCC countries committed to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  These greenhouse gases can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change.  A 2016 amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs would achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions and could avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.

Humanitarian Cooperation

The United States and GCC countries are partnering to help meet the extraordinary humanitarian needs facing the more than 18 million Syrians, including nearly 5 million refugees,  people affected by violence in Syria and other regional conflicts.  To date, the United States has led the way in contributing more than $5 billion in aid since the start of the Syrian conflict. GCC countries have collectively contributed over $2.5 billion.  Ahead of the High Level Summit on Refugees, which the President will host on the margins of the 2016 U.N. General Assembly in New York, GCC countries will work to expand their assistance to refugees.