Kerry tries to soothe relations with Saudi Arabia but tensions evident

Kerry tries to soothe relations with Saudi Arabia but tensions evident
# 04 November 2013 21:44 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Secretary of State John Kerry met King Abdullah on Monday and praised the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia as strategic and enduring, but strains in the nearly 70-year-old relationship were apparent over Syria and other issues, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Kerry visited the Gulf oil power on a mission to soothe disagreements that also extend to U.S. policy on Iran, Egypt and the Palestinian issue, but despite a public show of friendship, big differences remained.

The visit is the first since Saudi anger boiled over at the U.S. decision not to bomb Syria in the wake of a chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus in August. A senior prince said at that time that Riyadh was contemplating a "major shift" away from Washington.

Saudi concerns are also partly founded on a fear that President Barack Obama's moves to reduce tensions with Iran will give the kingdom's main regional adversary an opportunity to extend its influence in Arab countries.

In comments that may go towards reassuring the Saudis that the U.S. shares its concerns, Kerry reiterated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must stand down, and that Washington will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

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