US Committed to Gulf Security

Posted April 1st, 2012 at 12:05 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Washington is committed to strengthening the defense capabilities of its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf in the face of Iran's growing threat.

Speaking Saturday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, at the launch of a “strategic forum” between Washington and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council Clinton said America's commitment to the bloc is “rock solid and unwavering.”

The top U.S. diplomat called for improved maritime strategies between the United States and council members, as well as for a coordinated missile defense system for the GCC, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. and GCC have expressed concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions despite assurances by Tehran that its intentions are peaceful. Clinton told a news conference in Riyadh that Iran needs to resolve international concerns about its program soon.

“Iran's window to obtain a peaceful resolution to disputed nuclear program will not remain open for ever.''

The forum also discussed ways of pressuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end the ongoing crackdown on dissent.

On Friday, Secretary Clinton met with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss a wide range of issues, including global energy supplies and Syria. Saudi Arabia fears the Syrian unrest could destabilize the whole region.

Clinton continued from Riyadh to Turkey, where she is scheduled to attend a Friend of Syria meeting Sunday.