Prince Miteb on landmark US visit to cement relations
National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah begins a landmark official visit to the United States on Tuesday at the invitation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to further strengthen the 80-year-old historical relations between the two countries.
Prince Miteb will hold talks with President Barack Obama and other senior US officials during his visit. “We expect better understanding from America on the region’s issues and challenges,” the prince said in comments published Monday.
Speaking to Al-Riyadh Arabic newspaper, Prince Miteb criticized a report published by The Washington Post on Saudi Arabia: “The report on the Kingdom’s domestic policy is based on bogus analyzes,” he said.
Prince Miteb pointed out that an article in a newspaper or an opinion of a political analyst would not have any impact on state policies.
“I would like to emphasize that the Al-Saud royal family and its members are servants of the Islamic faith and the Saudi nation and people,” he said.
US-Saudi relations date back to 1931, when King Abdul Aziz granted the right to an American company to explore oil in the Kingdom. It was followed by the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two countries in 1933.
US-Saudi relations were further boosted by a meeting between King Abdul Aziz and President Franklin Roosevelt in 1945. Over the years it developed into a strategic alliance.
In June 1945, Prince Faisal visited the United States representing King Abdul Aziz to attend the formation of the United Nations. In 1951, the name of the US Company prospecting for oil in Saudi Arabia was changed from California Arabian Standard Oil Company to Arab American Oil Company, which later became known as Saudi Aramco.
In 1951, the two countries signed a joint defense agreement. Crown Prince Saud was the first member of the Saudi royal family to visit the US on Jan. 12, 1947 during which he met with US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
US President Richard Nixon was the first US president to visit the Kingdom in 1974 and meet with King Faisal.
In February 1962, King Saud visited the US again and met with President John F. Kennedy to promote economic relations and meet the security needs of the Kingdom.
In 1966, King Faisal met with US President Lyndon Johnson and discussed with him the founding of a Saudi-US partnership for development projects in the Kingdom. In 1971, King Faisal met with US President Nixon in Washington and in 1974 the joint Saudi-US Economic Committee was established.
King Khaled visited America in 1978 and in the same year President Jimmy Carter visited Riyadh and met with King Khaled to discuss bilateral relations and the Arab-Israeli peace plan.
In 1985, King Fahd visited the United States and met with President Ronald Reagan in Washington while President George W. Bush visited the Kingdom three times. In 1994, former US President Bill Clinton visited the Kingdom and met with King Fahd. In 1998, King Abdullah visited the US when he was crown prince and met with President Bill Clinton.
Saudi-US ties received further stimulus with the visit of King Abdullah to the United States in 2005, when he was crown prince. King Abdullah attended the G-20 summit in Washington and the latest visit to the Kingdom was by President Barack Obama in 2009.