News / Middle East

US Defense Secretary Visits Saudi Arabia After Afghan Trip

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is keeping up the pressure on Iran, consulting with close U.S. ally Saudi Arabia about how to respond to Tehran's disputed nuclear program.  Saudi support is seen as key to any effective approach in putting pressure on Tehran.  

Saudi government TV showed Secretary Gates conversing with Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and emphasized "regional issues" were at the top of the agenda.

Other key Saudi officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan and intelligence chief Prince Muqrin also took part in the discussions.

Secretary Gates is visiting Saudi Arabia as the tug-of-war between Iran and the West over its nuclear program intensifies.  Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of the U.S. network of strategic alliances in the Gulf and most of its smaller neighbors usually follow its lead.

Saudi Arabia has yet to officially endorse new sanctions against Iran, and last month Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal called sanctions a "long-term solution."

The editor and publisher of the Saudi daily Al Watan, Jamal Kashoggi, explained to VOA that Riyadh is urging the West to better coordinate its  attempt to impose new sanctions on Iran.

"There are two things: we are nervous and worried about Iran," said Jamal Kashoggi. "Number two: we are also noticing a disorganized or unorchestrated maneuvering by America and the West in general to move for sanctions.  They are asking us to exercise pressure on Iran without an international cover and there is no way Saudi Arabia will try to sell sanctions on Iran to the Chinese without an international mandate.  So, the West needs some coordination, together with France, Germany and the United States in order to get sanctions moving."

Kashoggi says Saudi Arabia is already engaged in quiet diplomacy to convince China and India to go along with new sanctions against Iran.

"Saudi Arabia still believes in sanctions, which is a long-term solution," he said. "But it is already participating in maneuvering leading to sanctions on Iran, working with India and China ... maybe not pressure, but Saudi Arabia will give the Chinese assurances and alternatives that your oil supply, we are here to fulfill your needs."

In recent months, the United States has been trying to reassure smaller Arab Gulf states of its commitment to their security against Iran's increasing arsenal of short and long-range missiles.  Gulf states complain frequently about Iranian attempts to stir up large Shi'ite minorities present on their soil.  

Iranian officials, meanwhile, have recently visited Qatar in a bid to stress Tehran's good intentions.  Iran, nevertheless, occupies three small Gulf islands claimed by the United Arab Emirates, causing some friction.  

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid