During talks held by the American President Barack Obama with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House yesterday, the importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries in this century was stressed upon. Important issues in the region were also discussed.
A statement issued by the White House expressed President Obama’s appreciation for “Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the campaign against ISIL”. It also stated that Obama and Prince Mohammed bin Salman reviewed “recent Iraqi gains against ISIL”. They also discussed the Syrian situation and “the importance of supporting the cessation of hostilities and a political transition away from Assad. In addition to this, “the President and Deputy Crown Prince agreed to build support for Libya’s Government of National Accord”. President Obama also welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to “concluding a political settlement of the conflict (in Yemen) and of GCC support to address urgent humanitarian needs and rebuild the country”.
The statement also said that “the President and Deputy Crown Prince discussed Iran’s destabilising activities and agreed to explore avenues that could lead to a de-escalation of tensions. They also discussed the important role Saudi Arabia can play in addressing extremist ideology.” With regards to Saudi Arabia, President Obama praised Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s commitment to plans for reforms and emphasised that the United States strongly supports the realisation of Vision 2030 and its aims.
On his part, Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasised Saudi Arabia’s strong commitment to the results of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and welcomed cooperation with the United States on clean energy issues. A White House official told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the deep strategic partnership between the two countries” was highlighted at the meeting and that “President Obama praised the pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia in the region to resolve disputes and ease tensions in particular”.
On his part, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir who participated in the meeting said that “the talks were very fruitful” and added that “there is no difference between the US and Saudi visions on resolving the Syrian crisis”.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter held an official reception ceremony for Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday evening. The chief spokesman for the Department of Defence Peter Cook said that “discussions between the two sides have been very fruitful, and they touched on anti-terrorism efforts and raising the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s level of military capabilities.”