John Kerry in Saudi to discuss US relations
In expectations that ties will be repaired between long standing allies, Saudi Arabia and the US, Senator John Kerry arrived in the Gulf Kingdom, his second stop on his tour of the Middle East.
Before hitting Saudi, the US diplomat stopped in Egypt, where he called for a stop to fighting and extended hope for a move towards a full democratic solution. Kerry expressed that the US is committed to working with Egypt’s new government even though Egypt has been the cause of tension between US and Saudi in recent months.
US stopped its aid to Egypt after its democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi was ousted by the military this year. Saudi, on the opposing side, provided support for the new military-backed government.
In earlier reports, Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan expressed that his country would be making “major shifts” in its relations with the US.
Items on the agenda for discussion while Kerry is visiting include Egypt as well as the US involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Reportedly unhappy about peace talks, Saudi Arabia thinks peace could lead to an Iran-backed government in Damascus.
Saudi has expressed concerns about the US-Iran connection over Tehran’s nuclear program as well as Saudi is a more important trading partner for the US in the Middle East.
Senator Kerry commented that he would not allow countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt to be “attacked from the outside”. This message was considered to be a reference to any possible alignments with Iran.
Kerry stated on Egypt moving toward democratic rule, "History has demonstrated that democracies are more stable, viable and prosperous than any alternative. With stability comes tourism and investment, and with both come jobs.”
Kerry’s arrival in Egypt was not reported until he arrived, likely because of security concerns and the general awareness of anti-American sentiment in Egypt.
Despite allegations that the US could be spying on the Middle East region, Kerry is expected to visit Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss peace processes in the region.