News / Middle East

US, Saudi Arabia Differ on Tactics, Agree on Goals in Syria

US, Saudi Arabia Differ on Tactics, Agree on Goals in Syriai
X
November 05, 2013 8:12 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal say their countries agree on the goal of removing from power Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But they disagree on how best to do that. Kerry also met Monday Saudi capital with King Abdullah to discuss Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Watch related video from VOA
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal say their countries agree on the goal of removing from power Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But they disagree on how best to do that. Kerry also met Monday Saudi capital with King Abdullah to discuss Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Foreign Minister Saud says the media make too much of reported differences between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Following talks Monday in Riyadh, Prince Saud said true relationships are based on sincerity, candor and frankness, so it's only natural that "policies and views might see agreement in some areas and disagreement in others."

U.S. officials traveling with Kerry say Saudi leaders expressed their disappointment at Washington's decision to back off bombing Syrian military targets in favor of a plan to remove the country's chemical weapons. For Riyadh, Prince Saud says, intervening militarily is a moral imperative.

"If one is choosing a moral choice to intervene or not to intervene, what is that choice going to be? Do I let the tragedy continue or do I help if I can?" asked Saud.

Saudi Arabia is helping arm the mainly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting President Assad.

Kerry said the Obama administration prefers a negotiated solution because the United States does not have "the legal authority or the justification or the desire at this point to get in the middle of a civil war."

But he too tried to downplay differences over Syria as a matter of tactics, not goals.

"Time and again Saudi Arabia has proven to be an indispensable partner. But an indispensable partner that obviously has independent and important views of its own. And we respect that," said Kerry.

Saudi leaders are wary of improving relations between the United States and Iran. In particular, they are concerned about Iran's support for Syrian President Assad and its efforts to escape crippling economic sanctions imposed over fears that Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Prince Saud said Iran's intentions are being tested.

"Right now the most important step it can take to prove its good intentions is to get out of Syria and get its Lebanese ally Hezbollah out of there, too," he said.

Kerry reaffirmed Washington's commitment to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb and to defending its allies in the region, regardless of talks this week in Geneva over Iran's nuclear program.

"Nothing that we are doing with respect to this negotiation will alter or upset or get in the way of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and the relationship in this region," he said.

Prince Saud said the international community has failed to protect the rights of Palestinians. Kerry said he briefed the foreign minister and King Abdullah on his efforts to reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Saudi Arabia is helping fund a military-backed interim government in Egypt. But the United States is withholding some weapons aid from Cairo over violence that followed July's coup against the country's first democratically elected leader.

Kerry said the United States is working with Saudi Arabia toward an economic transformation in Egypt that will enable a transition to a "stable, inclusive, and democratic civilian-led government."

From Saudi Arabia, Kerry travels to Poland for talks on trade and investment as well as joint military training. On this 10-day trip he also is scheduled to visit Jordan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, and Morocco.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More