King and Kerry take stock of Iraq crisis
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah on Friday to discuss ways to resolve the crisis in Iraq.
According to a spokesman from the US Embassy in Riyadh, Kerry briefed the king on his trip to Iraq, and to discuss the ongoing civil war in Syria.
“King Abdullah is a leader of great importance when it comes to regional issues and cares very deeply about the situation in Iraq,” Johann Schmonsees, press attache, said following the talks.
The audience was attended by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier, and minister of defense; Prince Saud Al-Faisal, minister of foreign affairs; Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin, the second deputy premier;
Ibrahim Al-Assaf, the minister of finance; Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the United States; and the US ambassador to the Kingdom Joseph Westphal.
Kerry had earlier met with Ahmad Jarba, the head of the moderate Syrian opposition, at the start of his visit to the Kingdom.
“President Jarba represents a tribe that reaches right into Iraq,” Kerry said at their meeting at the airport.
Jarba had lashed out at Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. “The policies of Al-Maliki after eight years in power have resulted in greater division,” Jarba said. “Now the situation is very grave, and there are sectarian militias ruling the country.”
The top US diplomat came to the Kingdom after hosting urgent talks in Paris with the Saudi, Jordanian and United Arab Emirates foreign ministers on the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria.
The Kingdom has consistently called for greater US military support for the Syrian rebels. According to reports, the White House said Thursday it intends to “ramp up US support to the moderate Syrian opposition.”
The request is part of a $1.5 billion regional stabilization Initiative to bolster stability in Syrian neighbors Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and to support communities hosting refugees.