White House: No Saudi Concern Over Summit

White House says Saudi Arabia did not raise any concerns about upcoming regional summit which the Saudi king has decided not to attend.

Ben Ariel ,

Saudi Arabia's King Salman
Saudi Arabia's King Salman

The White House said on Monday that Saudi Arabia did not raise any concerns about the agenda for an upcoming regional summit hosted by President Barack Obama at Camp David before or after the Saudi king changed plans and decided not to attend.

According to Reuters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States was confident that the Saudi officials who were coming would be able to represent their country and implement any decisions made during the meetings.

Later on Monday, Obama spoke to King Salman about the preparations for the summit, and the White House said the summit would result in a statement outlining commitments from all sides.

The meeting would include an announcement on integrating ballistic missile defense architecture as well as more military exercises to address maritime, counterterrorism, air and missile defense challenges, U.S. officials told reporters on a conference call, according to Reuters.

The leaders would also discuss ways to work together to harden government infrastructure against cyber hackers, the officials said.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister announced that King Salman would skip the May 14 summit of Persian Gulf leaders with Obama, in which the President is expected to offer the Gulf leaders reassurances over the efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.

Saudi’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir explained in a statement that the king is focused on the Yemen ceasefire and humanitarian aid effort. Saudi Arabia is currently leading an air offensive against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Saudi Foreign Minister said that the king had delegated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef to lead the Saudi delegation, which will also include Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior officials.

Arab governments have been expressing their concern about the terms of a potential nuclear deal with Iran. The major Sunni states have warned that a final agreement could allow Shiite-dominated Iran, their regional rival, to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia’s previous Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, recently said that Iran should not be given “deals it does not deserve”.

The United Arab Emirates indicated last week that it would be seeking a written guarantee from the United States with regards to the threat from a nuclear Iran.