Votel, who heads US forces in the Middle East, added, “Two of our enduring security threats are present in this region – the destabilizing actions of Iran and violent extremist organizations. We are looking for a maritime agreement through the initiative in this regard.”
Feuding Gulf Arab states must put aside their differences and unite against Iranian threats and extremist groups. “Our priority as a US central command is to confront the threats in the region,” Votel said, in reference to remarks made by US Secretary of State James Mattis, in which he said the dangers in the region have “originated from Iran and extremist terrorist organizations.”
Votel also spoke to the importance of collective military action, calling for “overcoming any differences so that we can face terrorism.”
UAE Chief of Staff Lt Gen Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi was also at the meeting. He listened to General Votel say that a clear military focus was imperative to “enhance and integrate our capabilities for our mutual national security interests” and “rise above all the other aspects”.
Kuwait’s Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Khuder called on the GCC nations, Egypt, and Jordan “to increase cooperation and boost relations to face the security challenges in the region.”
Khuder explained, “Our political leadership hopes that our meeting will contribute to enhancing mutual cooperation and developing mutually beneficial relations to ensure the achievement of common objectives.” He stressed, “We hope the first steps of this joint coordination will lead to a desired partnership and defense integration among all parties to develop our military capabilities in the face of current and future challenges.”
In a statement, the Kuwaiti army said that Wednesday’s examined many issues, including the fight against terrorism and extremism.
Besides General Votel, the GCC chiefs of staff met with their Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts. The Egyptian delegation was led by Lt. General Mohammed Hijazi.
The meeting followed three days of talks in Kuwait among the six GCC members’ chiefs of staff where the military commanders discussed increasing co-operation and eliminating terrorism in the region.