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 Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid