Obama will visit Saudi Arabia in March
Visit will mark the U.S. president’s first time in the kingdom since 2009
U.S. President Barack will travel to Saudi Arabia in March to meet with King Abdullah to discuss a range of security issues in the Middle East that have caused some strains in the bilateral relationship.
“As part of regular consultations between our two countries, President Obama will travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in March 2014 to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud,” the White House said in a statement.
The visit, which comes at the end of an Obama trip to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, will include discussions about “Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security,” the statement added.
“The President looks forward to discussing with King Abdullah the enduring and strategic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia as well as ongoing cooperation to advance a range of common,” the White House said.
King Abdullah met Secretary of State John Kerry in November and discussed concerns about the unwillingness of the United State to intervene in Syria and recent overtures to its arch-rival, Iran.
Saudi Arabia turned down a seat on the United Nations Security Council in October, in a display of anger at the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria.
That month, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief said the kingdom was looking at making a “major shift” in relations with the United States.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have long been close allies on military and energy issues.
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