Obama: US and Arab leaders united in defeating IS group

AP , Thursday 21 Apr 2016

Obama, Salman and Hamad
From left, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, President Barack Obama, Saudi Arabia's King Salman, and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa participate in the Leaders Photo at the Diriyah Palace during the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, April 21, 2016 (AP)

President Barack Obama says the United States and Arab allies remain united in their efforts to destroy the Islamic State group and will continue to increase their contributions to the fight.

Obama's comments come after meetings in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with leaders from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.

The president says the leaders have agreed to enhance humanitarian efforts in Iraq and Syria. He says they also continue to see violations of a fragile cease-fire agreement in Syria and that they agree the road ahead there must have a transitional government, a new constitution with free elections and a move away from President Bashar Assad.

Obama says that the leaders also continue to have serious concerns about the behavior of the Iranian government.

The US President also says there's a need for better communication with America's Gulf Arab allies, and that summits like Thursday's in Saudi Arabia are a step in that direction.

The president says the formation of a new government in Libya and peace talks to end fighting in Yemen — along with last year's nuclear deal with Iran — wouldn't have been possible without support from the Gulf states.

Obama say there's a need for "consistent, institutionalized communication" with countries in the region because "the possibilities of misunderstanding increase when there's so much activity taking place."

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