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US President Barack Obama pledges to stand by his Gulf allies

US President Barack Obama has pledged to stand by his Gulf allies with military force if necessary, amid heightened tensions with Iran.

He reassured Arab leaders, after a two-day summit, that the US was committed to protecting them in a time of “extraordinary changes”.

Speaking at Camp David near Washington, Mr Obama said a nuclear deal with Iran was not a threat to Gulf nations.

A joint statement pledged new co-operation in many areas.

These included counterterrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity and ballistic missile defence.

The six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

“I was very explicit … that the United States will stand by our GCC partners against external attack,” Mr Obama pledged at the end of the talks.

US President Barack Obama (C) poses with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a family photo at the end of a summit meeting at Camp David in Maryland on May 14, 2015. Obama hopes to salvage a fence-mending summit already bedeviled by disagreements and royal no-shows. (L-R) Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) armed forces Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmud al-Said, Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, President Obama, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and GCC Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani    AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM

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