News / Middle East

Iran, Israel, Oil, Expected to Top Obama-Abdullah Talks

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah visits President Obama at the White House Tuesday with current tensions over Iran's nuclear program and Palestinian statehood expected on the agenda. The visit comes just days before Mr. Obama is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Saudi monarch's visit also comes just one day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country would postpone nuclear talks with major world powers until the end of August.

And it comes after a recent U.N. Security Council vote to impose another round of sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program and the U.S. Congress's approval of harsher unilateral sanctions against nations that supply Tehran with gasoline.

Simon Henderson is the Baker Fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  He told VOA that King Abdullah is likely to express his concerns over Washington's approach to Iran's nuclear threat.

"He sees Iran as being an adversary for Saudi Arabia and a dangerous one as well.  He also sees diplomacy as not succeeding and insufficient to persuade Iran or to stop Iran from going nuclear,” said Henderson. He added, “ And I think he will be showing his frustration to President Obama that what the U.S. administration is trying to do now is too late and not enough."

The Iranians say their nuclear program is for peaceful uses only.  The U.S. government says Tehran is trying to make weapons-grade nuclear material.

Jon Alterman is director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  He agrees that King Abdullah will be looking for assurances that the American plan against Iran will work.

"The Saudis have articulated a lot of reservations about whether sanctions are really going to do anything to keep the Iranians from getting a bomb if that is what they decide to do. And the Saudis feel that if the Iranians did have a bomb, they would be the first to feel it,” said Alterman.

China -- one of the permanent members of the Security Council -- voted in favor of the sanctions. But China also consumes more than 7.5 million barrels of oil each day.

Jon Alterman says King Abdullah is striking a delicate balance between the two powers - because China needs Saudi oil and the Saudis need U.S. security to keep the oil flowing worldwide. "China has very impressive energy demand growth going forward.  The United States has stagnant growth. Europe's oil use is going down. But on the other hand when it comes to security in the Gulf, the United States is the only country from outside the Gulf that can provide security for the Gulf in a comprehensive way. The Chinese cannot do it, the Chinese will not be able to do it for the foreseeable future and the Chinese do not want to do it," he said.

Simon Henderson says that Beijing would prefer to keep its relationship with Iran separate from other countries' efforts to curtail Tehran's nuclear program. "And they would regard bilateral relations with Iran as being important in their own right.  And part of those bilateral relations is to import oil from Iran and to sell Chinese goods to Iran.  They do not like that being muddled up with the nuclear issue."

King Abdullah is also expected to ask the United States to do more to resolve the Palestinian situation.

Last year, President Obama revived a long-standing request for Saudi Arabia to move towards recognition of Israel. The Saudis said they will not make concessions beyond a 2002 Arab plan put forth by King Abdullah which offered recognition in exchange for Israel's return of the occupied territories and allowance of a Palestinian state.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid