On his third visit as US President, Barack Obama reached Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh to a rather chilly reception on Wednesday. The visit comes amid rising tensions between the old allies.
Obama was received by a small delegation led by the Governor of Riyadh. The arrival was not aired by the state run channels as it did during the two previous visits.
Saudi television had broadcast live the the reception accorded to Gulf rulers by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz at the Riyadh airbase earlier.
Saudis seemed to be upset over Obama’s recent interview to a magazine in which he said the Gulf states were not doing enough to ensure the region’s security.
In what has been dubbed by the US media as an “apology tour”, Obama is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Saudi King Salman on Wednesday and on Thursday, in a bid to ease the rising tensions between the two historic allies.
Obama will also attend a Summit on Thursday with the leaders of six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, at which he will be joined by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Obama is expected to urge the GCC leaders for greater cooperation and military backing in the fight against ISIS.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will on Wednesday lead a high-level UAE delegation to the Summit.
Shaikh Mohammad on Tuesday held talks with US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter on efforts being exerted by the international community to counter terrorism, violence and terrorist groups as well as international coordination and co-operation to support these efforts.
The contribution of the UAE and US to advance these efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and its criminal organisations were also touched upon during the talks.