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Gulf Cooperation Council summit aims to signal solidarity amid Iran tension

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Gulf Arab leaders gather on Tuesday for the annual GCC summit expected to stress cohesion at a time of regional concern over Iran.

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman toured Gulf states ahead of the summit, which comes nearly a year after Riyadh put an end to a 3-1/2-year Arab boycott of Qatar that had shattered the US-allied Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi Arabia and non-Gulf Egypt have restored diplomatic ties with Doha but the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have yet to do so, though Abu Dhabi has moved to mend fences.

“I have to admit there are areas that will need some time, but I mean practical, functional (Gulf) cooperation is back on track,” senior UAE official Anwar Gargash said last week.

Saudi media said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s tour aimed to highlight solidarity as global powers seek to revive a nuclear pact with Iran, amid deepening Gulf uncertainty about the US role in the region.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran are locked in a rivalry for influence that has played out across the region in events such as Yemen’s war and in Lebanon, where Iran-backed Hezbollah’s rising power has frayed Beirut’s Gulf ties.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, missile program and regional proxies, are engaging with Tehran to contain tension.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have moved away from hawkish foreign policies that saw them wade into Yemen and boycott Qatar, to a more conciliatory approach as they vie to lure foreign investment, and win over US President Joe Biden.

Abu Dhabi has moved faster to mend fences with Iran and Turkey while also re-engaging with Syria after forging ties with Israel last year.

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US considering moving troops from Western Europe to Eastern Europe: NATO diplomat

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The United States is considering transferring some troops stationed in Western Europe to Eastern Europe in the coming weeks, a NATO diplomat told Reuters, amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

“This has to do with American troops that are already in Europe,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirming a New York Times report that said US President Joe Biden was considering sending US troops to the Baltics and Eastern European allies.

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NATO said on Monday it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets, in what Russia denounced as an escalation of tensions over Ukraine.

The diplomat said the potential troop movements would be gradual and that any filling of NATO gaps on its eastern flank could take place in the coming weeks.

Read more: From Kyiv, top US diplomat warns Russia against Ukraine aggression

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Several wounded in shooting in German city; gunman dead

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A lone gunman wounded several people at a lecture theater in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg on Monday, police said.

Police said in a brief statement that the perpetrator was dead, but didn’t give details of how that happened. They had earlier asked people on Twitter to avoid the Neuenheimer Feld area of Heidelberg, where the city’s university campus is located.

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Police didn’t specify how many people were wounded, or how seriously, and there was no information on their identities or that of the suspected shooter. The university’s press office declined to give any details on the shooting and referred all inquiries to police.

German news agency dpa cited unidentified security sources as saying that the gunman killed himself.

Police said the weapon used in the shooting was a long-barreled firearm.

Heidelberg is located south of Frankfurt and has about 160,000 inhabitants. Its university is one of Germany’s best-known.

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Aramco CEO says oil demand nearing pre-pandemic levels: Report

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Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Al Nasser said that the demand for oil is nearing pre-pandemic levels, Asharq Business reported in a tweet on Monday.

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Saudi Aramco signs 50 agreements during IKTVA conference

Saudi Aramco to establish presence in China to focus on non-metals in construction

EIG-led investors in Aramco oil pipelines hire banks for dual-tranche bonds

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