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US Defense Chief in Saudi Arabia to Discuss Mideast Unrest


U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, is greeted by Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation Prince Khalid bin Sultan, on Gates' arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 6, 2011

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, is greeted by Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation Prince Khalid bin Sultan, on Gates' arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 6, 2011

Officials say talks with Saudi ruler to focus on political change across the region, progress on $60 billion arms deal, missile defense

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in Saudi Arabia to meet King Abdullah for talks on the recent spate of political unrest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

Gates arrived in the capital Riyadh Wednesday on his third trip to the area in the past month. Officials say his talks with the Saudi ruler will focus on political change across the region, progress on a $60 billion arms deal and plans to upgrade Saudi Arabia's missile defense system.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morell said the two men would also discuss Iran and its attempt to exploit unrest in the region to its advantage.

The talks are unlikely to focus on Saudi Arabia's internal situation, which has seen a limited number of demonstrations by the country's Shi'ite population in the eastern oil producing provinces.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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