US shares common agenda with the GCC'

Diplomacy matters more than ever: Mark Toner

The deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, Mark Toner, spoke at the Arab Media Forum on the “US-Arab diplomacy: the way forward”, where he maintained they were standing with Gulf leaders to tackle regional issues including Iran, Yemen and combating terrorism.

Speaking about US President Barack Obama’s meeting with Gulf leaders in Riyadh, Mark Toner said: “We share a common agenda with the GCC. There are a range of issues where we may differ on approaches, but this is why we have dialogue to face threats as allies to a common cause.

“Diplomacy matters more than ever. The GCC and US meeting in Riyadh earlier was a good opportunity for the President to sit with leaders of the Gulf and address key strategic challenges…

“These are relationships, like the one with Saudi Arabia, which have been forged over 70 years. We have a need to stay involved in this region, because of Yemen, Syria and the Iran nuclear programme. This engagement will continue.

“With any alliances, there will be good and bad times. You have to work through those.”

He added that the US was not easing up on its engagements in the region. “I want to dispel notion that we are easing up on engagement in the region and leaving issues for the Gulf to deal with. We all address these challenges together,” he said.

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