DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — It is not just the Saudi king who will be skipping the Camp David summit of U.S. and allied Arab leaders. Most Gulf heads of state won’t be there.
The absences will put a damper on talks that are designed to reassure key Arab allies, and almost certainly reflect dissatisfaction among leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council with Washington’s handling of Iran and what they expect to get out of the meeting.
Rulers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman never publicly announced they would attend the summit — so officially at least, there was no reversal of plans.
However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington on Monday that Saudi King Salman had formally accepted the invitation to meet with President Barack Obama ahead of the summit.
Late on Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir announced that newly installed Salman will not be attending. The ostensible reason was because the upcoming summit on Thursday coincides with a humanitarian cease-fire in the conflict in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also interior minister, will lead the Saudi delegation and the king’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is defense minister, will also attend.
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