Clinton, Saudi Foreign Minister tout strong cooperation

July 31, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal on Friday stressed the strong cooperation between the two countries.

During a statement made at the U.S. Department of State, which centered mainly on the goal of achieving Middle East peace, Clinton spoke of the two countries’ “mutual respect and mutual interest” and their partnership on several key issues. Both Clinton and Prince Saud expressed a mutual investment in getting Iran to abide by international standards with their nuclear program, combating terrorism and extremism, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and working to strengthen the struggling global economy.

At the end of her statement, and before taking questions from a handful of reporters, Clinton said she looks forward to working to “broaden and deepen our [the United States and Saudi Arabia’s] partnership.” She specifically touted Saudi King Abdullah’s “reforms” in the country, specifically the naming of a woman to the position of Deputy Minister of Girls Education.

Prince Saud also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to have a “frank, honest and open” discussion with Clinton, and said their coordinated efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East has “reflected the maturity of this relationship” between the two countries.

The Saudi Foreign Minister spoke to the historic U.S.-Saudi relationship, saying “our two nations have been friends and allies for over seven decades. We have seen the coming and breaking of many storms. Over time, our relationship has grown stronger, broader, and deeper.”

He also said that given the “long list of common challenges” between the two countries, a Strategic Dialogue was established in 2005 with the goal of working to “institutionalize the relationship between our two countries.”

Clinton also addressed a question posed by a reporter from U.S.-government backed Radio Sawa about the potential of removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terror, following U.S. Special Envoy Major General Scott Gration’s suggestion to do so. “We have made no decision to lift the listing on the terrorist list of Sudan. As you know, there’s a very intensive review going on within the administration concerning our policy toward Sudan, but no decisions have been made,” she said.