US Stepping Up Defense Cooperation with GCC Members: Official

Thu May 23 2024
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LONDON: The US is increasing defense cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council countries to address one of the region’s most challenging periods in recent years, said Dan Shapiro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy on Wednesday.

Gulf military representatives have met senior US officials at the headquarters of GCC in Riyadh as part of maritime and missile defense working groups.

Shapiro at a press conference said discussions between GCC and US officials are more important than ever. He added the US-GCC defense working groups are rooted in a close US partnership with the GCC.

He said for over a decade, we’ve worked together to address pressing threats and crises. The US has an interest in strengthening the partnerships we’ve forged with our Gulf partners.

Shapiro, said Yemen’s Houthis are carrying out illegitimate acts of terrorism in its Red Sea campaign against civilian shipping.

He added the working group meetings witnessed US and Gulf officials explore means to boost information sharing, counter-proliferation, and enhance the effectiveness of combined interdictions of illegal maritime shipments to the Houthis.

Shapiro added US’s Gulf partners, by enhancing air and missile defense cooperation, hope to lay the foundations for a GCC-wide air defense system.

He went on to say the US officials at the working group meetings also suggested joint military training to ensure that their forces share a common operational language.

The official said the US does not think its campaign against the Houthis as purely a military challenge. He said the military solutions are necessary but not sufficient.

He added it’s a whole-of-government challenge from the US perspective.

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