Saudi, Bahraini Leaders to Skip Camp David Summit

Saudi, Bahraini Leaders to Skip Camp David Summit
Saudi, Bahraini Leaders to Skip Camp David Summit

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will not attend a Camp David summit of US and the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, his foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, said, raising questions about relations between Riyadh and Washington.

In a statement on Sunday, Jubeir said Thursday’s summit coincides with a humanitarian ceasefire in the conflict in Yemen, where a coalition of Arab nations is fighting Houthi forces, Al-Jazeera reported.

He said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also interior minister, would lead the Saudi delegation and the king’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is defense minister, will also attend.

The New York Times said the decision appeared to be a signal of Saudi Arabia’s “continued displeasure with the Obama administration” over the US relations with Iran, its regional rival.”

US President Barack Obama had planned to meet Salman one-on-one a day before the gathering of leaders at the presidential retreat.

The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain said separately Sunday that its delegation would be headed by the country’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Bahrain, whose leadership has close ties to the Saudis, is an important military ally of the US.

Six Gulf Cooperation Council leaders are due to visit the White House on Wednesday and attend the summit at the bucolic Camp David presidential retreat the next day.