President Barack Obama meets with Saudi Arabia's King Salman at Erga Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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U.S. President Barack Obama met Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia Thursday to push for increased efforts against the ISIS group, despite strains in their ties with Washington.After talks with Saudi King Salman the day before, Obama posed Thursday for a summit photo with leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before heading into four hours of talks at a royal palace.Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states belong to the U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq since mid-2014 .U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also joined Obama in Riyadh, where he held talks with Saudi Arabia's powerful Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.The full-scale diplomatic offensive follows months of rising tensions between the United States and the Gulf monarchies, which have for decades enjoyed strong security ties with Washington. Obama's perceived tilt towards their arch-rival Iran has been a particular concern, with Gulf states worried that Tehran will be emboldened to seek a still bigger regional role after the lifting of sanctions under its landmark nuclear deal with major powers led by the United States.
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