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Obama to Middle East and Europe on diplomacy and trade mission


Barack Obama visits Saudi Arabia for a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He also travels to London to meet the Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron, before going on to Germany and meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In Riyadh, the president will attempt to win more cooperation from Arab leaders in the fight against Islamic State, a mission that has become urgent in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Belgium on Mar 22 and the two in Paris in 2015. He will also work to ease their anxieties about Washington's support of the deal to lift sanctions against Iran, the powerful regional rival of the Gulf Arab countries. Several Arab leaders snubbed Obama's invitation to a summit at Camp David, the presidential retreat outside Washington DC, in May 2015, which he called to explain the Iran deal and discuss security issues. The Riyadh summit provides a second chance to mend diplomatic relations.

In London the president will have a private lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and hold a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron. Britain's Independent on Sunday reports that he will urge Britons to stay in the European Union and help maintain the post-war transatlantic partnership. The newspaper adds that the prospect of his intervention is major coup for the pro-EU campaign, but has infuriated supporters of Britain's exit from the bloc, known as Brexit. The country votes in June on staying or exiting.

He continues to Germany to debate security issues with Chancellor Angela Merkel, then opens the Hannover Messe with the German leader. The United States is the official Partner Country of the industry trade show, billed as the largest in the world, and Obama will also be the first sitting U.S. president to attend the event.

Obama, GCC Leaders Forge Consensus on Iran (US News 18 May 2015)

Barack Obama to urge Britons to back remain vote on UK visit (Independent 12 Mar 2016)

Hannover Messe web

U.S. Relations With Germany (US Dept of State

Date written/update: 2016-03-25