Prince Saud, John Kerry confirm strength of U.S.-Saudi relations

November 4, 2013

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal confirmed the enduring strength of U.S.-Saudi relations during a joint press conference with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh today. Addressing the recent “rumors” in the press that relations between the Kingdom and the United States are “deteriorating and passing a critical and dramatic stage,” Prince Saud stated, “Such analyses have ignored the historic ties binding the two countries, which were always based on independence, mutual respect, serving the common interests as well as constructive cooperation when dealing with regional and international issues addressing world security and peace.”

He continued, “A true relationship between friends is based on sincerity, candor and frankness, rather than mere courtesy. Therefore, it is not surprising for us to have our points of agreement and differences at the same time. This is normal in any serious relationship that deeply explores all issues, presents various points of view and seeks to address issues through dialogue at all levels, thus leading to a common perspective which reflects positively on resolving such issues.”

Regarding the Kingdom’s decision to reject a seat on the United Nations Security Council, Prince Saud said that the move in no way represents a rejection by the Kingdom of the UN. He expressed appreciation of the UN bodies dealing with humanitarian and economic aid, health issues and other fields. The problem, Prince Saud insisted, lies in the inability of the Security Council to deal with political crises, especially in the Middle East. He pointed to the Palestinian conflict, which is still unresolved after sixty years, as evidence of this failure, along with the huge humanitarian crisis in Syria and the lack of action to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

Despite the tactical difference between the Kingdom and the U.S., Prince Saud reported, “Our two friendly countries are busy dealing with these issues with all seriousness and transparency, pursuing policies that provide no room for emotion or outrage. Instead, the language of wisdom and logic is overwhelming, based on mutual confidence that guides us to the best ways of addressing those issues.”

During his remarks, Secretary Kerry described the U.S.-Saudi relationship as “strategic, enduring and covering a wide range of issues.” The two countries have been cooperating for seventy years, he pointed out, and joint work is ongoing in the fields of energy, counterterrorism, training, investment, science, technology, medical matters, education and external exchanges. “We have the capability to cooperate as we have done for several years,” he added. “We may disagree once or twice on the tactics and techniques here or there, but these differences will not change anything.”

On his earlier talks with the Saudi King, Secretary Kerry said, “I would like to thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on the important time he offered to conduct these discussions, and on the level of dialogue that took place between us. I will report to President Obama that he can rely on the fact that he has a sincere strong friend who is King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. We believe that this cooperation will enable us to achieve more together, and we will continue to cooperate continuously. I would like also to reiterate my gratitude to Prince Saud Al-Faisal on this partnership and friendship.”