Four rulers of a six-member alliance of Persian Gulf states will likely be absent from a summit hosted by President Obama this week at Camp David.
In a statement Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Thursday’s summit coincides with a “humanitarian cease-fire” in Yemen, where a Saudi-US-led coalition is waging an aggression on Yemen. 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.
Obama had planned to meet Salman one-on-one a day before the gathering of leaders at the presidential retreat but the White House did not take his decision to skip the summit as a sign of any substantial disagreement with the U.S.
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 U.S. It is the longstanding host to the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is responsible for operations around the Arabian Peninsula and northern Indian Ocean.
The sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, is also among those staying away. The sultanate will be represented instead by the deputy prime minister, Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, and other officials, the country’s official news agency announced.
Health issues are also expected to keep the president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, from attending.