WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry will launch a nine-day trip by travelling to Riyadh for talks on Sunday with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz amid tensions with the Gulf kingdom.
Kerry “will reaffirm the strategic nature of the US-Saudi relationship given the importance of the work between our two countries on shared challenges,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday.
The trip from November 3 to 11 will also take the top US diplomat to Poland, Israel, Bethlehem, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Algeria and Morocco, she said. The trip comes as ties have strained with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, over Washington’s policy on the conflict in Syria and moves for a rapprochement with Iran to rein in its suspect nuclear programme.
In an unprecedented move, Riyadh earlier this month turned down a coveted non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in protest at the world body’s failure to end the 31-month war in Syria.