Gulf monarchies have gathered to discuss the latest concerns of the Gulf region in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, with the presence of French President Francois Hollande as guest of honor, Reuters has reported.
Hollande’s presence as "guest of honor" at the Gulf summit comes just over a week before the the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) heads of states are due to travel to their traditional ally, the US, for talks.
The Gulf summit in Riyadh has brought together leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Hollande journeyed to the summit from Qatar, an influential member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), after he signed a $7-billion deal between Dassault, a French aerospace company, and Qatari defence officials.
The agreement covered the sale of 24 Rafale fighter jets, with an option for a further 12.
A joint declaration will be signed during Hollande’s visit, touching on political, economic, strategic, and military cooperation between France and GCC nations.
"We are now a major partner of the region," said an official from the GCC, requesting anonymity.
The GCC nations are concerned about the possibility of Iran’s developing an atomic bomb.
Tehran denies there have been any attempts to develop a nuclear weapon.
Before Hollande the only other foreign leader invited to a summit of the 34-year-old GCC was Iran's then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in 2007.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to visit Saudi Arabia a day after the Gulf summit, before continuing to France for talks on regional security, a White House spokeswoman said on Monday.