“The United States will stand by our GCC partners against external attack and will deepen and extend the cooperation that we have when it comes to the many challenges that exist in the region,” President Obama said after a daylong summit with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders at Camp David, Maryland, on May 14.

Obama and senior leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar discussed ways to advance security and shared interests in the region.

“The leaders underscored their mutual commitment to a U.S.-GCC strategic partnership to build closer relations in all fields, including defense and security cooperation, and develop collective approaches to regional issues in order to advance their shared interest in stability and prosperity,” reads a joint statement released after the summit.

Summit discussions focused on security cooperation, counterterrorism efforts and regional security. The leaders held in-depth conversations about resolving the conflict in Yemen, supporting Iraqi efforts to defeat Daesh, and finding a political solution to the war in Syria.

President Obama with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, center, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (© AP Images)

“They reaffirmed that [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad has lost all legitimacy and has no role in Syria’s future,” the joint statement says, and they “strongly supported increased efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy” Daesh in Syria.

The United States and the GCC countries agreed to counter Iran’s destabilizing influence in the region.

“Whether we reach a nuclear deal or not with Iran, we’re still going to face a range of threats across the region, including its destabilizing activities, as well as the threat from terrorist groups,” Obama said. “So we’re going to work together to address these threats. And much of the enhanced security cooperation that I’ve outlined will allow us to do precisely that.”

The leaders pledged to further deepen U.S.-GCC ties on these and other issues and agreed to meet again in a similar high-level format in 2016 to build upon the partnerships developed at the Camp David summit.