King Abdullah holds talks with Obama at the White House

June 30, 2010

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz met yesterday with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House.  Prior to their meeting, King Abdullah and President Obama delivered remarks in the Oval Office to the press.

President Obama began his remarks by noting, “I always value His Majesty’s wisdom and insights, and we have had a very productive session speaking about a whole range of issues that relate to both relations between our two countries, but also issues of prosperity and security around the globe.

“We talked about our joint interests and work together in combating violent extremism. And we talked about a range of strategic issues, including issues related to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iran and its attempts to develop nuclear weapons capacity. We discussed the Middle East peace process and the importance of moving forward in a significant and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state.
“As representatives of two G-20 countries, we also continued the conversation that took place this weekend about how the Saudi government and the United States government can work with our other partners around the world to keep the economic recovery going and to help bring about the strong economic growth that’s necessary to put people back to work.

“And we will continue to work together to expand the people-to-people contacts, the educational programs, the commercial ties, the businesspeople who are working together in both countries, so that not only do our governments remain strong partners, but our people are continually enriching both countries.
“…We appreciate your friendship and we appreciate your good counsel, and look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the strong bonds between our two countries.”

For his part, King Abdullah focused his comments more on the persona of President Obama and the American people, since Obama had already covered the substance of their meeting in his remarks.

King Abdullah said, “Mr. President, I would like to share with you reviews that I have been hearing about you from around the world. You are an honorable man and you are a good man. And I don’t say this in order to compliment you; I say this because this is the truth as I hear it from people around the world.
“And I would like to say to the friendly American people that the American people are friends of Saudi Arabia and its people, and they are friends of the Arab and Muslim people, and they are also friends of humanity.
“…Over the past seven decades, the relationship has grown stronger and broader and deeper, and we appreciate all that you personally have done to further broaden and deepen and strengthen this relationship. And I hope that you will be able to continue to work with us on improving this relationship for many more years.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for a productive meeting. I want to also thank our friends, the American people. And I also would like to thank our friends here in the media; may God spare us from all of the bad things they can do to us. And may God bless us with all of the positive things they can do for us and for humanity.”

At the daily White House briefing, when asked whether President Obama asked King Abdullah for more gestures to Israel to advance the peace process, spokesman Robert Gibbs mentioned that Saudi Arabia reiterated its support for the Arab Peace Initiative, “which is an important aspect of it.”

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