Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said Friday during his first visit to the United States as monarch that his country was willing to collaborate with the United States to ensure stability in the region.
Speaking to reporters gathered in the Oval Office before the meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, King Salman said that Saudi Arabia must allow more opportunities for U.S. and the kingdom to do business.
King Salman, characterized his visit as symbolic of the deep ties between the allies. “I’m happy to come to a friendly country to meet a friend,” he said. “We want to work together for world peace.”
He said "I intended to make my first official visit to the United States as a symbol of the deep and strong relationship that we have with the United States that’s indeed historical relations that go back to the day when King Abdelaziz met with President Roosevelt in 1945."
The King emphasized that Saudi-U.S. ties are beneficial to the entire world and to the region. "Our relationship must be beneficial to both of us, not only on the economic field but on the political and military and defense field, as well," he added.
King Salman affirmed the importance of the region's stability, "which is essential for the prosperity of its people. And in our country, thank God we are prosperous, but we want prosperity for the entire region. And we are willing to cooperate with you in order to achieve that," he said.
Meanwhile, Obama said he plans to discuss Yemen, the Iran nuclear deal and other topics with King Salman at the White House on Friday.
Obama said that he and King Salman shared the common goals of resolving the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and countering Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.
Obama said that the U.S. shares King Salman's desire for an inclusive government in Yemen that can relieve that impoverished Arab country's humanitarian crisis. Their talks also addressed the Iran nuclear deal, a source of lingering tension in the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
“We share concerns about Yemen and the need to restore a functioning government that is inclusive and that can relieve the humanitarian situation there,” Obama told reporters who were allowed into the Oval Office for brief comments from both leaders. The meeting, Obama noted, was taking place at a “challenging time in world affairs, particularly in the Middle East.”
Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the U.S was working with its Arab allies in the on a ballistic missile defense system, special operations training and large-scale military exercises.
Earlier on Friday, King Salman met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of his meeting with Obama. The two met at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, adjacent to Washington.
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