Prince Saud Al-Faisal and U.S. Secretary of State hold press conference

March 4, 2013

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a joint press conference in Riyadh today, during which they reaffirmed the strength of U.S.-Saudi relations and reviewed their common positions toward a number of international issues. Prince Saud began by welcoming the U.S. delegation to the Kingdom and congratulating Kerry on his appointment as Secretary of State. “I am looking forward to working together to continue the support of the historical, strong and strategic relations between our two friendly countries, and to confront regional and global challenges of common concern,” he said.

Prince Saud enumerated the many areas of mutually beneficial cooperation in which the two countries are engaged. He noted that the number of Saudi students studying in the U.S. has risen over the past eight years from 7,000 to more than 70,000. Meanwhile, visa processes have been improved, and the volume of bilateral trade and investment has risen to record highs. Prince Saud highlighted U.S.-Saudi cooperation in the fight against terrorism and terrorist-financing, as well as efforts to achieve global economic and financial stability. He asserted, “The level of relations and their strength at the bilateral level put us in a better position to cooperate in the political spheres and confront many regional and global challenges.”

During his meeting with Kerry, Prince Saud said, the latest developments in Syria, Iran, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were reviewed. The two sides agreed on the need to support the Syrian opposition and to bring about an end to the bloodshed unleashed by the Assad regime. They also agreed on the imperative of pressing Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding its nuclear program, warning that while a negotiated solution is preferred, talks cannot continue indefinitely. Finally, both sides agreed upon the importance of addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and putting the peace process back on track.

Delivering his own remarks, the U.S. Secretary of State said, “We continue our lasting relationship with the Kingdom and we look forward to its role and contribution to the enrichment of these relations.” The Kingdom and the United States, he said, “are working together to fight extremism and violence, and strengthen the bonds of trust between the two peoples.”

Kerry praised the current Saudi government, stating, “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and officials here are working at various levels to diversify the economy, and we must do that for the benefit of our two countries.” He also lauded King Abdullah’s selection of thirty women to participate in the latest session of the Majlis Al-Shoura.

The Secretary of State confirmed the common stances held by the U.S. and the Kingdom on various regional and international issues, declaring, “We are working together for peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East and around the world.”