News / Middle East

    Kerry Praises Saudi Arabia's Stature on Visit to Ease Concerns on Syria, Iran

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left,  is escorted by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, as Kerry arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 3, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is escorted by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, as Kerry arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 3, 2013.
    VOA News
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised Saudi Arabia as the "senior player" in the Arab world while on a visit to soothe diplomatic ties frayed by differences over U.S. policy on Syria and Iran.

    Kerry told staff Monday at the U.S. embassy in Riyadh before meeting with Saudi King Abdullah that the two nations have important things to discuss to ensure their relationship is "on track."

    He also reiterated the U.S. position that Iran will not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

    His one-day visit included talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

    Saudi Arabia, which backs Sunni Muslim-led rebels fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has voiced concern that proposed Syrian peace talks backed by Washington could leave an Iranian-backed government in power in Damascus. Saudi leaders are also known to be upset over recent U.S. overtures toward Saudi Arabia's strategic rival, Iran.

    To underscore those concerns, Saudi Arabia last month rejected a seat on the U.N. Security Council after the United States had expressed its support for the Saudis to sit on the council.

    Kerry said Sunday during a brief stop in Egypt that the Obama administration understands the security concerns of Sunni nations about Shi'ite Iran and said Washington is committed to its "major defensive relationships" in the Middle East.

    Kerry also had a six-hour visit to Cairo, during which he reassured Egypt's army-backed government that Washington remains a committed "friend and partner," despite suspending some military aid to Egypt.

    The Obama administration last month suspended delivery of Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets after criticizing the Egyptian military for removing the country's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, and replacing him with an interim government.

    The aid suspension prompted Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy to say U.S.-Egyptian relations were in turmoil. However, on Sunday, while speaking alongside Kerry, Fahmy said he had received "indications" that relations are returning to normal.

    Kerry's other stops include Israel and the West Bank for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He also is due to visit Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco and Poland.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ismail ALjazaeri
    November 04, 2013 10:39 PM
    Like a capricious spoiled baby, Saudi regime need to hear from their patrons that they the loved one, most beautiful, and closest allies. I guess after this meeting, the prince is ecstatic and reassured.
    LOL

    by: Ariely Shein from: Jerusalem
    November 04, 2013 7:50 AM
    "True friends stab you in the front." -Oscar Wilde
    This famous sentence was said in English and not Russian.

    Putin shows in Syria that Russia supports their allies in the
    most difficult days.
    Obama shows that under his administration USA allies cannot predict USA behavior almost on any event.

    Putting acts a lot and don’t talk much.
    Obama talks a lot and don’t act much.

    " USA will be there for the defense of our friends" said by Kerry.
    One way to translate it:
    USA will do nothing to stop Iran of getting the NUKS.
    (Remember North Korea-USA agreement not to develop NUKS followed by USA lift of sactions)
    Question:
    After Iran will get NUKS who will master the ME- USA or Iran?

    USA allies should remember and follow the advice given by one of USA founding fathers:
    "God helps them that help themselves"
    Benjamin Franklin

    by: mysterion from: MilkyWay
    November 04, 2013 6:38 AM
    You can be sure that when the US says 'you are a good ally,' what they mean is - 'if you did not have oil we'd be droning your a** all day and all night'.

    I think Kerry has not been informed that the Wahabist form of Islam is what drive the 9/11 attackers - Oh, and where did the majority of the 9/11 attackers hail from?

    But, yes, Saudi, you are good friends of the US..................

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