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US agrees to speed up arms sales to Gulf states: Kerry

The US Secretary of State John Kerry is on a whistle stop tour of the region to reassure allies after the recent Iranian nuclear deal
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to GCC foreign ministers at a conference in Doha (AFP)

Washington has agreed to speed up arms sales to Gulf countries, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday, following talks in Doha on the region's concerns over the Iran nuclear deal.

His Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, told a joint press conference with Kerry that the nuclear deal was "the best option among other options".

Kerry said the United States had "agreed to expedite certain arms sales that are needed and that have taken too long in the past".

Following talks with foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kerry said that Washington and the region's Arab states would also step up efforts to share intelligence and increase the number of joint military exercises.

The secretary of state was in the Qatari capital for a day-long set of meetings with GCC representatives in a bid to calm their fears over the nuclear accord with Iran.

Gulf countries have expressed concerns that the 14 July deal between Iran and world powers would allow greater interference in the region by the Islamic republic.

"We talked about the possibility, not the possibility, the reality of increasing the number of exercises that we are conducting together," Kerry said.

"These are a few examples and ways in which we believe the security of the region can be strengthened and cooperation will be enhanced."

Attiyah, for his part, said there was support for the nuclear deal among countries in the Gulf.

"This was the best option among other options to come up with a solution to the nuclear weapons of Iran through dialogue," the Qatari minister said, speaking in Arabic.

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