Fresh from the latest round of Iran nuclear negotiations, Secretary of State John Kerry planned to head to Saudi Arabia Wednesday to ease Gulf Arab concerns about an emerging deal and discuss ways to calm instability in troubled Yemen.
Kerry was due to leave the Iran talks in the Swiss resort town of Montreux and fly to Riyadh where he will see the new Saudi monarch, King Salman, and meet separately with the foreign ministers of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
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The Sunni-ruled Gulf states, like Israel, are unnerved by Shiite Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons and its increasing assertiveness throughout the region. U.S. officials say Kerry will reassure them that a deal with Tehran will not allow Iran to get the bomb and won't mean American complacency on broader security matters.
Iran is actively supporting forces fighting in Syria and Iraq and is linked to Shiite rebels that recently toppled the U.S. and Arab-backed government in Yemen.
U.S. officials said Kerry will reiterate that the U.S. supports U.N. efforts to promote a dialogue leading to a political transition in Yemen, which is embroiled in a political crisis that threatens to split the country. The U.N.-mediated talks are aimed at breaking the political stalemate between the rebels known as the Houthis and Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
- The Associated Press