US President meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman

Edited by Nelly Tawil

American President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia King Salman have disagreed on the issues of Iran Syria, Yemen and the fight against the so-called Islamic State militants during a meeting, correspondents say.

The two leaders held talks in Riyadh on Wednesday ahead of a regional summit during President Obama’s two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, which is likely to be his last as president. The meeting lasted two-and-a-half hours on issues that have recently strained the alliance, including the conflict in Yemen, the role of Iran, Lebanon’s instability and the fight against ISIS, U.S. officials said.

The White House said leaders had affirmed their “historic friendship and deep strategic partnership”. They have continuously stressed that the leaders made progress after a prominent member of the Saudi royal family said “a recalibration” of the U.S.-Saudi relationship was needed amid regional upheaval, dropping oil prices and ongoing strains between the two longtime allies.

Mr. Obama will meet the leaders of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman at a summit of the gulf Co-operation Council on Thursday, before travelling to the UK and then Germany.

However the U.S. President and King Salman skimmed over some of the thorniest matters, including a Saudi threat to dump U.S. assets if Obama signs into law a bill that could make the kingdom liable for damages stemming from the September 11 terror attacks.

There is going to have to be “a recalibration of our relationship with America,” former Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal said. “How far we can go with our dependence on America, how much can we rely on steadfastness fro American leadership, what is it that makes for our joint benefits to come together,” Tuki said in a significant departure from usual Saudi rhetoric. “These are things that we have to recalibrate.”