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Saudi King, Obama Talk Mideast Peace

Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010 05:28 AM

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabian was welcomed to his first Oval Office meeting with US President Barack Obama Tuesday, with Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and energy at the top of the agenda.

Obama told reporters of their shared desire to see Palestinians and Israelis "living side by side" in peace, a point discussed at length over their working lunch. Abdullah expressed his continued support for the Arab Peace Initiative for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the meeting. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq were also addressed. Obama said that the two countries would continue to "work together towards combating violent extremism."

"We discussed the Middle East peace process and the importance of moving forward in a significant and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state," Obama told reporters after the meeting.

The two leaders paid each other high compliments before the camera, with Obama saying he "always valued your majesty's values and insights" and speaking of the "extraordinary hospitality" extended to him during his visit to Riyadh last June, the first meeting between the two heads of state. Abdullah, for his part, conveyed what he described as the worldwide conviction that "you are an honorable and good man."

Yet the pleasantries conceal what some analysts see as a widening gulf between the two allies, as Saudi Arabia hedges its relationship with the West over concern about the growing influence of Iran amidst a feeling that the US isn't doing enough to stop Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Simon Henderson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writing on foreignpolicy.com, said the "distancing" going on in the US-Saudi relationship was also clear in the case of oil policy.

To read full Jerusalem Post story — Go Here Now.

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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabian was welcomed to his first Oval Office meeting with US President Barack Obama Tuesday, with Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and energy at the top of the agenda.
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2010-28-30
Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010 05:28 AM
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