Iran, IS, Mideast conflict figure high on Saudi-US talks agenda

National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah leaves Riyadh on Tuesday for Washington. (SPA)

National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah leaves Riyadh on Tuesday for Washington. (SPA)

National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah is expected to hold wide-ranging talks on security issues with US President Barack Obama and leading US officials.

The conflicts in Middle East countries and Iran’s nuclear program will also figure high in his talks in Washington, according to reports.

Prince Miteb left Riyadh on Tuesday for the US and is scheduled to meet Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and members of Congress.

He would discuss strengthening bilateral relations and enhancing the Saudi National Guard forces.

In comments published on the eve of his visit, Prince Miteb said his US trip was in response to an invitation from Hagel. He said Saudi-US ties were at their best.

He emphasized the need to root out terrorism, cut off financial sources to extremists and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Saudi Arabia has given the utmost importance to this conflict since the very beginning.”

Prince Miteb also called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya. “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah is pained by every drop of Arab blood spilled and is working to settle conflicts between Arab and Islamic countries,” he said.

The visit is being touted in the Saudi press as a “landmark” event that would “further strengthen the 80-year-old historical relations between the two countries.”

The visit comes at a time when Washington and Riyadh have a full plate of issues to tackle including the battle against the so-called Islamic State, instability in Yemen, and the impending deadline for P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran.

“Prince Miteb’s visit is likely to be a defining event in Saudi-US relations and an important occasion to address the implications of potential developments in the Arabian Gulf, the Arab world, and the Middle East as a whole,” said Imad Kamel Harb, a distinguished international affairs fellow with the National Council on US-Arab Relations.

 
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