Saudi Arabia’s King Salman visited the White House on Friday and met with U.S. President Barack Obama to talk the Iran nuclear deal and the security of the Middle East.
It was unclear whether the bilateral relations between the Arab state and the U.S. would prevail because of the withdrawal of the U.S. from the region and because of not having a more direct intervention in Syria’s civil war against the President Bashar al-Assad. Salman did not attend the Gulf Arab states summit at Camp David earlier this year, which was interpreted as a diplomatic blow to the United States. However, both countries denied such claims.
According to Reuters, at a press conference at the Saudi Arabia embassy, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stated that King Salman was very satisfied with Obama’s assurance that even though Iran would receive all of its $56 billion due to the sanction relief, there would be no chance of obtaining a nuclear weapons, because it would be under constant supervision and inspection of military and non-military facilities. Al-Jubeir said “Now we have one less problem for the time being to deal with, with regards to Iran. We can now focus more intensely on the nefarious activities that Iran is engaged in the region.” He also said that the two leaders have talked a about a “new strategic partnership” between the countries, however he gave very few details.
The U.S. is working with the Arab state in a coalition against the Houthies in Yemen, who are allies with Iran, as well as the fight against ISIS extremists. The leaders talked about the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen and the civilian death toll and the means of giving access to humanitarian organization to provide supplies to civilians.
According to Reuters, Obama said “We continue to cooperate extremely closely in countering terrorist activities in the region and around the world, including the battle against ISIS.”
The two countries are also cooperating on weapons technology, with the Saudis purchasing two frigates on a coastal warship, worth over $1 billion, which would be used for modernization of the Royal Saudi Navy’s Gulf patrolling fleet. Obama has also promised assistance on integrating ballistic missile defense systems and upgrade cyber and maritime security and a fast-tracking of military systems and weapons technology.
According to Reuters, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter also met with the Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman on Friday and discussed the Saudi defense requirements, a source from Pentagon has said.
They also talked about the world economy and energy issues, as well as the recent collapse in global oil prices, since Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and has continued to pump oil despite the decline.
King Salman’s first trip to the United States since his ascending to the throne this year has brought assurance to the Arab nation that the nuclear deal with Iran is safe and is the only way to secure the stability of the region. Previously Salman has reiterated the concern that the Gulf States could be exposed to a nuclear catastrophe. The endorsement of the deal comes before the Congressional vote for the resolution of disapproval of the Iran deal.