So, which other leaders previously attended GCC summits?

As Obama touches down in Riyadh, Al Arabiya English looks back at former world leaders who’ve made official visits to the Gulf Arab region.

Ismaeel Naar

Published: Updated:

During what is supposed to be his last visit to Saudi Arabia, US President Barack Obama will talk with Saudi and Gulf leaders about agreements on counterterrorism and bolstering ballistic missile defense systems.

Obama also plans to discuss the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS), the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen, and Iran and regional stability issues, according to Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

The summit in Riyadh follows a similar gathering that Obama hosted with the Gulf leaders last year at the Camp David presidential retreat. The White House arranged last year's meeting largely to reassure Gulf leaders who were unnerved by a deal the US and other world powers negotiated with Iran to ease economic sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

As Obama touches down in Riyadh, Al Arabiya English looks back at former world leaders who’ve made official visits to the Gulf Arab region.

Nelson Mandela

The late President Nelson Mandela was admired by Arabs for his courage and strength to build union and peace for the people of South Africa.

In 1998, founder and first president of UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan welcomed Mandela to the UAE, honoring him with the Zayed Medal for his life-time achievements.

Mandela was gracious enough to present opening remarks at the 19th annual GCC Summit held in Abu Dhabi at that time.

Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations, was in his second year as UN chief when he was invited to speak in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 1998. He gave the inaugural remarks at the 19th GCC summit, where the Iranian occupation of three UAE islands was high on the agenda. Annan devised a framework for negotiations between the UAE and Iran in a bid to resolve the dispute.

Jacques Chirac

Former French President Jacques Chirac addressed the 19th GCC Summit in Abu Dhabi via satellite, praising the deep-rooted ties of friendship between the GCC countries and France and appreciating the role played by the council in international sphere.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also attended the 28th in 2007 GCC summit held in Doha, Qatar, proposing a number of joint projects to improve ties with the GCC, including economic and security programs.

François Hollande

French President François Hollande became the first sitting leader of a western nation to be invited as a guest of honor to a summit with GCC leaders in May 2015. During the visit, Hollande said the security of the Arab world was “tantamount to the world security and the dangers of terrorism threaten all countries.”

The French leader also said that his country was going to work on continuing a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia and that his visit to the country tasks France with an important role in security in the region.