King Abdullah, President Obama hold talks

June 3, 2009

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and U.S. President Barack Obama held bilateral talks at the King’s ranch in Al-Janadriyah today.

During remarks to the media, President Obama stressed the value of his relationship with the Saudi monarch. “I've been struck by his wisdom and his graciousness,” he said.  The U.S. and Saudi Arabia “have a long history of friendship, we have a strategic relationship.”

President Obama said he purposely chose Saudi Arabia as the first stop on his Middle East tour because the Kingdom is a key ally and the cradle of Islam. “I take this trip and we'll be visiting Cairo tomorrow, I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek His Majesty's counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East.”  President Obama said he was confident that working together the U.S. and Saudi Arabia “can make progress on a whole host of issues and mutual interests.”

King Abdullah thanked President Obama for his kind word “and the sentiments expressed within them, which are not suprising, given the historic and strategic ties between our two countries, which go back to the time of the meeting between the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the late King Abdulaziz.”  King Abdullah also express his wishes “to the friendly American people who are represented by a distinguished man who deserves to be in this position.”

During their discussions, the two leaders focused on regional and international developments – especially the Palestinian issue – and on Saudi-U.S. bilateral cooperation. King Abdullah and President Obama are expected to hold further talks, during which they will focus on a variety of issues, including the world financial crisis.

King Abdullah also presented President Obama with the King Abdulaziz Medal, the Kingdom’s highest award which is bestowed to heads of state and world leaders.

Today’s meeting was attended by Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz; Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal; Acting Riyadh Governor Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz; Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz; Chief of General Intelligence Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz; and a number of senior U.S. officials.