U.S.-Saudi Relationship ‘In a Good Place,’ Gates Says

RIYADH, Sau­di Ara­bia, April 6, 2011 — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates emerged from a 90-minute meet­ing with Sau­di King Abdul­lah here today con­vinced that the rela­tion­ship between the Unit­ed States and Sau­di Ara­bia is “in a good place.”
Gates said he had an “extreme­ly cor­dial, warm meet­ing” with the Sau­di monarch. The sec­re­tary said he and the king dis­cussed how to pre­vent Iran and extrem­ist groups from try­ing to exploit the recent tur­moil in the Mid­dle East.

Gates said the Saud­is don’t seem to be par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about the unrest spread­ing to Sau­di Ara­bia, but they are con­cerned about the region, includ­ing Iran.

“We already have evi­dence that the Ira­ni­ans are try­ing to exploit the sit­u­a­tion in Bahrain,” Gates said, “and we also have evi­dence that they’re talk­ing about what they can do to cre­ate prob­lems else­where, as well.”

The sec­re­tary said he and Abdul­lah also talked about the breadth of the bilat­er­al and mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ships between the Unit­ed States and Sau­di Ara­bia, as well as var­i­ous pro­grams asso­ci­at­ed with U.S.-Saudi rela­tions.

Today’s vis­it marked the sev­enth Mid­dle East­ern coun­try Gates has vis­it­ed since mid-March.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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