Only two of the six Arab monarchs invited to attend, will actually attend. The White House was scrambling Monday to put a positive face on an upcoming summit of Persian Gulf states after learning leaders from four of the six invited nations are expected to skip.
FOX News While those nations are still sending representatives to the summit being hosted by President Obama later this week at Camp David, the absence of crucial heads of state — notably, Saudi Arabia’s new king — could present an awkward situation for the administration.
But State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf rejected the notion this was a “snub,” and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest likewise said the administration is “confident” that Saudi Arabia and other nations will be “ably represented” at the summit.
Earnest confirmed Monday that Saudi King Salman would no longer attend, noting the king originally had accepted the invitation. But Earnest stressed that Saudi Arabia did not express any concerns to the U.S. before or after the Saudi king’s change in travel plans.
Earnest said the feedback the U.S. has had from Saudi Arabia has been “positive,” and as for speculation that Riyadh might have been trying to send a message to the Obama administration with the change, Earnest said: “If so, that message is not received.”