King Salman holds talks with John Kerry in Riyadh

King Salman receives U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh. (SPA)

King Salman receives U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh. (SPA)


King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia held talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Riyadh on Thursday, discussing bilateral relations and the security situation in the region, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During his visit Kerry also held talks with Gulf foreign ministers, briefing them on the U.S. nuclear talks with Iran and offering them reassurance that any deal would not damage their interests.

Kerry arrived in Riyadh late on Wednesday from Montreux, Switzerland, where he said he had made progress in talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that aim to conclude an atomic deal by the end of March.

Gulf countries, like Israel and many Western states, fear that Iran is using its atomic program to develop nuclear weapons capability, something Tehran denies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. Congress this week that the deal being negotiated by Washington and other world powers was a serious mistake.

Although they did not publicly endorse his comments, Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf Arab states share his concern that the mooted accord would not be strong enough to stop Iran from gaining the bomb, or that it would lift international pressure on Tehran and give it more room to intervene in regional issues.

During a joint press conference with Kerry Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Iran was “taking over Iraq,” referring to an ongoing offensive led by Iran-backed militias on the city of Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein.


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