News / Middle East

US Defense Secretary Visits Saudi Arabia After Afghan Trip

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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