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Obama meets with Emirati crown prince

Tuesday - 4/16/2013, 4:09pm  ET

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan walks with U.S. Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall as they arrive at the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, for a private lunch with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has held the first in a series of White House meetings with Mideast leaders.

The White House says Obama and the crown prince of the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, discussed a range of regional issues during their private talks Tuesday. Among the issues discussed were Iran's disputed nuclear program, the deadly civil war in Syria, and the continued threat of violent extremism.

The United Arab Emirates is a major U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf and an important oil producer.

Obama will meet next week with the leaders of Qatar (GUH'-tur) and Jordan. The two countries, along with the UAE, are believed to be arming or training the rebel forces that are seeking to overthrow the Syrian government.

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