World Bulletin / News Desk
Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have gathered in Saudi capital Riyadh for their 37th summit, which will be attended for the first time by U.S. President Barack Obama.
The summit, which kicked off on Thursday, is expected to discuss a host of issues, including combatting terrorism and Iran’s alleged interference in the affairs of the Gulf states.
President Obama, in turn, hopes to push for an intensified campaign against the ISIL group, despite strains in Gulf ties with Washington.
Making what is likely to be his final presidential visit to America's historic allies, Obama posed for a summit photo with the six regional leaders, including Saudi King Salman, before beginning about four hours of meetings at a royal palace.
This is 7th GCC summit to be hosted by Saudi Arabia since the six-nation Gulf bloc was launched in the early 1980s.
In 1981, Saudi Arabia hosted the 2nd GCC summit during which regional security was the main concern. During the meeting, the GCC leaders reiterated their rejection to foreign interference in the affairs of the Gulf countries.
The summit also stressed support for the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination and establishing their independent state on the lands captured by Israel.
In 1987, Gulf leaders met in Riyadh for their 8th summit, which was dominated by the Iraqi-Iranian war that broke out in 1980 and ended in 1988.
In 1993, Saudi Arabia hosted the 14th GCC summit to discuss regional developments and violations of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein regarding its invasion of neighboring Kuwait. The GCC leaders also discussed a dispute between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran over three Gulf islands.
In 1999, the GCC leaders met again in Riyadh, where they reached a deal to unify their customs tariffs by March 2005, resolving a last-minute dispute that threatened their 18-year-old ambition to create a regional trading bloc.
In 2006, the 27th GCC summit was held in Riyadh to discuss ways of establishing a GCC common market. This summit was held eight months after the demise of Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al- Sabah.
In 2011, Saudi Arabia again hosted the 32nd GCC summit during which Saudi King Abdullah called for establishing a Gulf Confederation, a call which was adopted by the GCC leaders.
In 2015, the 36th GCC summit was held in Riyadh to discuss regional developments, including the situation in war-torn Syria and turbulences in Yemen, where the Houthi militia seized control of capital Sanaa and a number of provinces in 2014.
The summit was also dominated by what Gulf states describe as Iran’s interference in their affairs, a recent nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran and a slump in world oil prices.Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Nisan 2016, 11:44