Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has decided to miss the forthcoming summit between the US and GCC leaders and will instead send Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

The reason cited by the king for his non-attendance is that the 14 May summit coincides with the humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen. King Salman is leading coalition forces fighting the Shia Houthi rebels and wants to stay in Riyadh to oversee operations.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is defence minister, will also travel to Washington.

King Salman’s decision has led to some observers speculating that he is snubbing the US over the recent deal with Iran that lays the groundwork for a nuclear pact and the perceived rising influence of Tehran. Health issues were also cited by other media outlets.

The GCC leaders are meeting President Barack Obama to discuss regional security issues, especially in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos will also miss the US summit.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices