U.S. defense secretary meets Saudi monarch

Saudi King recieves U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 22, 2015. (SPA)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz received U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in Jeddah on Wednesday, who is on a regional tour aimed at reassuring Washington's allies over a nuclear deal with Iran.

Carter held talks with King Salman in which he conveyed the greetings of U.S. President Barack Obama and “reviewed relations between the Kingdom and the United States,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Carter “stressed the United States of America's keenness on enhancing peace and stability in the region,” SPA added.

The meeting was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and interior minister, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is defense minister and second-in-line to the throne.

 

The Red Sea city of Jeddah is where the kingdom's rulers base themselves during the hot summer months.

Carter, who flew in from Jordan, is to return to Amman mid-afternoon.

On Tuesday Carter visited Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has predicted the Iran nuclear agreement will lead to a regional nuclear arms race.

Netanyahu also fears the deal will help fund Iranian "aggression".

Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran, worries Tehran could still be able to develop an atomic bomb despite the limitations on its nuclear program agreed to this month under the deal with Washington and five other major powers.

Like Israel, Riyadh and its Gulf neighbors believe the pact will only embolden Tehran's leaders, whom they accuse of "interference" in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

In an effort to calm these worries, Carter proposes to intensify military cooperation with Washington's traditional allies in the Middle East.
 

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Last Update: 09:59 KSA 12:59 - GMT 09:59
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