At the invitation of President Barack Obama, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abd alAziz Al-Saud visited the United States and met with President Obama at the White House on September 4, 2015. The two leaders had a positive and fruitful discussion in which they reviewed the enduring relationship between their countries. The relationship has grown deeper and stronger over the past seven decades in the political, economic, military, security, cultural and other spheres of mutual interest. The two leaders stressed the importance of continuing to bolster their strategic relationship for the benefit of the two governments and peoples. The President noted the Kingdom’s leadership role in the Arab and Islamic world.
The two parties affirmed the need to continue efforts to maintain security, prosperity and stability in the region and in particular to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities. In this regard, King Salman expressed his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5 + 1 countries, which once fully implemented will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and thereby enhance security in the region.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the Camp David Summit among the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and President Obama last May, which aimed at strengthening the U.S.-GCC partnership and fostering closer defense and security cooperation, and both leaders expressed their commitment to implement all the understandings reached at Camp David.
The two leaders noted the on-going military cooperation between the two countries in confronting ISIL/DAESH, in working to protect the sea-lanes and in confronting piracy. They discussed fast-tracking the provision of certain military equipment to the Kingdom, as well as heightened cooperation on counter-terrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity, and ballistic missile defense.
The two leaders underscored the importance of confronting terrorism and violent extremism. They expressed their continued commitment to the security cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States, including joint efforts to counter al-Qaeda and ISIL/DAESH. They noted the importance of their cooperation to stem the flow of foreign fighters, to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, and to cut off terrorist financing streams. Both leaders stressed the need for a long-term, multi-year counterterrorism effort against both al-Qaeda and ISIL, requiring sustained cooperation from partner nations across the globe.
On Yemen, the two parties stressed the urgent need to implement relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2216, in order to facilitate a political solution based on the GCC Initiative and the outcomes of the National Dialogue. Both leaders expressed concern for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. King Salman conveyed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to continue to assist the Yemeni people; to work with coalition and international partners to allow for unfettered access to assistance vetted by the UN and its partners, including fuel, to the impacted people of Yemen; and, to that end, to work toward opening Red Sea ports to be operated under UN supervision. Both leaders agreed to support and enable the UN-led humanitarian relief efforts.
Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the two leaders underscored the enduring importance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and underlined the necessity of reaching a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement to the conflict based on two states living side-by-side in peace and security. They also encouraged both parties to take steps to preserve and advance the two-state solution.
Both leaders stressed the importance of reaching a lasting solution to the Syrian conflict based on the principles of Geneva 1 to end the suffering of the Syrian people, maintain continuity of civilian and military government institutions, preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and ensure the emergence of a peaceful, pluralistic and democratic state free of discrimination or sectarianism. The two leaders reiterated that any meaningful political transition would have to include the departure of Bashar al Asad who has lost legitimacy to lead Syria.
The two sides expressed their support for Prime Minister Abadi’s efforts to defeat ISIL/DAESH and encouraged the full implementation of reforms agreed to last summer and those agreed to by Parliament recently. Implementation of these reforms will support security and stability in Iraq and preserve its national unity and territorial integrity, as well as unify the internal front to fight terrorism, which threatens all Iraqis.
The two leaders emphasized their continued strong support for Lebanon and its sovereignty, security and stability, and for the Lebanese Armed Forces as they secure Lebanon and its borders and resist extremist threats. The two leaders also affirmed the critical importance of Lebanon’s parliament expeditiously electing a new President in accordance with the Constitution of Lebanon.
The two leaders discussed the challenge of global climate change and agreed to work together to achieve a successful outcome at the Paris negotiations in December.
Finally, the two leaders discussed a new strategic partnership for the 21st century and how to significantly elevate the relationship between the two countries. His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman briefed the President on the Kingdom’s views regarding the strategic partnership. The President and King Salman directed officials in their respective governments to explore appropriate ways to move forward in the coming months.