By Arab News
Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Salman held talks with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Pentagon on Tuesday, soon after arriving.
They discussed major regional issues as well as ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Prince Salman was accompanied by Minister of State Musaed Al-Aiban, Saudi Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir, Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ayesh, commander of Royal Saudi Air Force, Lt. Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Binayan, director general of Prince Salman’s office, and other top officials.
In an arrival statement, Prince Salman said he would meet with US President Barack Obama and senior American officials. He thanked Panetta for extending him an official invitation to visit the United States.
He said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s visit to the US in 2005 had played a big role in taking the historic Saudi-American relations to new heights.
“Our present visit comes as per the directives of King Abdullah to boost bilateral relations as well as to work jointly to reinforce peace, security and stability in the region,” Prince Salman said.
Prince Salman was greeted on arrival in Washington by Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, assistant minister for petroleum affairs, other princes and senior officials including Al-Jubeir.
Prince Salman arrived here Tuesday from London where he was seen off by Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, deputy commander of the British Royal Air Force, Prince Muhammad bin Nawaf, Saudi ambassador to the UK and other senior officials.
During his visit to the UK, his first after becoming the defense minister, Prince Salman held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary William Hague on strengthening bilateral relations.
Prince Salman received Gen. James Mattis, commander of US Central Command, and John O. Brennan, assistant to US president for homeland security and counterterrorism, at his place of residence on Wednesday.
They discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual concern. Minister of State Musaed Al-Aiban, Saudi Ambassador to US Adel Jubair, US Ambassador to the Kingdom James Smith, and other Saudi and US officials also attended the reception.