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GCC states play key role in resolving Mideast problems - US official
June 10, 2014, 8:29 am

 US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson said Monday her country realizes the importance of strategic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

The problems of the Middle East region cannot be resolved without the involvement of the GCC states, she said in an address to the opening session of the US-Islamic World Forum. The US is unlikely to engage in any new war in the region since it leads the NATO and is committed to defend its allies, Patterson said.

The US-GCC defense cooperation is stronger than ever, she said, reaffirmed the US commitment to enhance the defense capabilities of the GCC states.
The socio-economic partnership will continue to be the cornerstone of the US relations with the Middle East, she affirmed.

Patterson reaffirmed the significance of setting the priorities of the US-GCC cooperation geared to maintain stability, serve the common interests and enhance the partnership.
She voiced hope that the Gulf states will convene a conference on defense cooperation in order to address the security risks, boost their preparedness and coordinate their military cooperation and policies.

She noted that US President Barack Obama stressed in his recent speech the need to scale up the combat against Iraqi and Syrian terrorist groups particularly the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The anti-terrorism strategy depends on not only military means but the political and diplomatic ones as well. To eradicate terrorism and extremism requires creating jobs for the youth and realizing their aspirations, she stressed.

Patterson urged increasing joint investment and trade exchanges between the US and the GCC and European countries, opening the labor markets in order to achieve the development targets in the developing Arab countries.

She also urged opening more vocational training institutes and enhancing the academic exchanges in order to promote the people-to-people relations and enhance mutual understanding.

On Syria, she said the US is committed to helping the moderate opposition groups, blaming Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad for giving new chances for terrorist groups such as ISIL to act in the region.

Al-Assad's regime will not be able to quell the popular uprising in Syrian through repressive means, she said, affirming that the US will continue working with "the Friends of Syria" group for achieving democratic transition in the country.

President Obama plans to increase humanitarian aid to the victims of the Syrian conflict, she said, noting that US Secretary of State John Kerry announced, during his visit to Jordan, a US contribution of USD 290 million to the relief effort for the Syrian refugees.

Commenting on the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, Patterson said the US will continue the mediation efforts to bring back both sides to the negotiating table.
She called on the countries of the region to contribute to the efforts aiming to bring about a fair solution to the long-standing dispute.

The three-day US-Islamic World Forum kicked off here earlier today under the patronage of the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

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