Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz discussed cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the US, and the two countries mutual desire to deepen their bonds of friendship, with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Washington on Wednesday. They also discussed the latest developments in the regional and international arena.
For his part, Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz expressed his appreciation for the welcome and hospitality of the US, as well as his hopes that bilateral relations between Riyadh and Washington continue to develop and grow, under the support and patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and US President Barack Obama.
Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz also met with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday. At the outset of the meeting, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to the US president. Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz and US President Obama reviewed the strong historical bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America during the meeting, in addition to discussing a number of bilateral and regional issues of common interest.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz also met with US Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan and Commander of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) General James Mattis during his visit.
Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz was accompanied by Minister of State Musaed Al-Aiban, Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir, Royal Saudi Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ayeh, director general of Prince Salman’s office Lt. Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Binyan, and other top officials.
Saudi Minister of Defense Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz arrived in Washington on Tuesday at the start of an official visit to the United States at the invitation of US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. On arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Prince Salman was received by US Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Affairs Joseph McMillan and US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith and a number of senior US military officials.
Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz was also received by Saudi Assistant Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for Petroleum Affairs Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz, in addition to Prince Sultan Bin Saad Bin Khalid, Prince Saud Bin Nasser Al-Farhan, Prince Mohammad Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Saud Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz, and a number of other princes and senior officials.
Upon his arrival in Washington, Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz said “I am pleased, at the start of my visit to the United States of America, to express my thanks to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for inviting us to visit this friendly country in order to meet with President Barack Obama and senior US officials. I am also pleased to convey the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the greetings of Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to US President Barack Obama.”
He added “the visit paid by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to the United States in 2005 has greatly promoted the strong historical relations between our two countries in various fields. My visit to the United States comes in the context of the care extended by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to boosting these relations, and the joint endeavor to serve peace, security and stability in the region.”