HRH King Abdullah and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates held talks Wednesday on a range of bilateral and regional issues including Iran and the spiraling unrest in Yemen.
The talks covered several other topics of common concern in a renewed bid to boost links between the two countries and narrow differences over the response to issues affecting the Arab world.
Geoff Morrell, Pentagon Press Officer, said that the US defense secretary discussed "regional issues including Iran and Saudi-American relations with the King."
"King Abdullah and Gates dwelt at length discussing bilateral issues," said a US Embassy Official, adding that Gates wrapped up his day-long visit to Riyadh in the evening. The talks, Gates' first with the king after his return from abroad, also focused on concerns about Yemen and pressure on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down, said the sources.
The talks were attended by top Saudi and US officials. Prominent among those were Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Foreign Minister; Prince Khaled bin Sultan, Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation; Prince Muqrin, Chief of General Intelligence; Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, Minister of State and Commander of the National Guard; Adel Al-Jubair, Saudi Ambassador to the United States; and US Ambassador James B. Smith.
On defense cooperation between Riyadh and Washington, Morrel said that Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer of American military hardware. He said Gates’ discussion with senior Saudi officials also covered military-to-military relationships and progress in finalizing a recent defense supply agreement. (Arab News)