Riyadh: Talks between Custodian
of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and US President Barack Obama
here yesterday focused on joint efforts, closer coordination and
more Saudi support to revive the Middle East peace process while
many other regional and international issues were also taken up for
discussion by the two leaders. Some of them included the nuclear
standoff with Iran, oil and global energy market as well as US
relations with the Muslim world.
“I thought it
was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to
seek His Majesty King Abdullah’s counsel,” Obama said before the
The US president
said he was confident that, working together, the United States and
Saudi Arabia could make progress on a host of issues for the benefit
of the two countries.
United States and Saudi Arabia have a long history of friendship, we
have a strategic relationship,” Obama said.
thanked Obama for visiting Saudi Arabia and said, “The visit was not
surprising for the two countries because the US is a friend and an
ally of Saudi Arabia since the days of the late King Abdul Aziz and
President Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
between King Abdullah and the US president took place at the king’s
sprawling Janadriya ranch, 45 km north of Riyadh.
presented Obama with the King Abdul Aziz Medallion, which is the
Kingdom’s highest honor, and called him a “distinguished man who
deserves to be in this position.”
On the Middle
East peace process, Obama said that there are a lot of Israelis “who
recognize that their current path is unsustainable, and they need to
make some tough choices on settlements to achieve a two-state
solution — that is in their long-term interest — but not enough
folks are willing to recognize that publicly.”
The talks also
focused on cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
After the first
round of talks, King Abdullah and the US president broke off into a
private session that lasted at least two hours.
The US president
pointed out that leaders in the region should be more candid about
“Stop saying one
thing behind closed doors and saying something else publicly,” he
said. “There are a lot of Arab countries more concerned about Iran
developing a nuclear weapon than the ‘threat’ from Israel, but won’t
visit was condemned by Al-Qaeda in a video message aired by Al-Jazeera
yesterday. Both countries dismissed the message as irrelevant and
scheduled to fly to Cairo today where he will deliver his
much-awaited speech to try to build bridges with the Muslim world.
He will also meet with President Hosni Mubarak.
Referring to the
speech the US president is to deliver in Cairo today, a statement
released by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) said that
the Muslim world would keep an eye on what Obama says. Professor
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC secretary-general, left for Cairo to
attend the event following an invitation by the Egyptian government.
renewed OIC’s commitment to cooperate in order to boost constructive
dialogue between the US and OIC member states.
Obama’s speech in Cairo is said to be an opportunity to deliver a
“broader message about how the United States can change for the
better” its relationship with the Muslim world.