Kerry reassures Saudi Arabia of ‘solid relationship’

Kerry reassures Saudi Arabia of ‘solid relationship’

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US Secretary of State John Kerry says goodbye to Saudi Arabian military personnel as he leaves Riyadh. — Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry reassured Saudi Arabia on Sunday of the “solid relationship” between both countries, even after the lifting of sanctions on the kingdom’s regional rival Iran.

“We have as solid a relationship, as clear an alliance, and as strong a friendship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we’ve ever had,” Kerry said before departing from Riyadh.

Saudi King Salman on Saturday met with Kerry in the capital Riyadh, and discussed regional affairs, the state-run news agency reported.

During the meeting, the two discussed the latest developments in the region, “particularly the latest developments on the Syrian arena as well as the importance of addressing the Iranian interference in the internal affairs of States,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.

The meeting, which took place at the Al-Auja palace, was attended by senior officials on both sides, including Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who Kerry had earlier met with.

At a joint press conference after their earlier meeting on Saturday, Kerry expressed his concerns about Iran’s military support to the Shiite Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have both criticized and denounced Hezbollah’s support to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime after protests erupted in Syria against the embattled leader’s rule in 2011 but turned into a civil war.

Also on Saturday, foreign ministers of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held a joint meeting with Kerry at King Salman airbase in Riyadh. — Al Arabiya

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