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U.S. And Saudi Arabia Old Friends

In late June, U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to the White House.

In late June, U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to the White House. The 2 men discussed the security problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan, stated their strong support for the efforts of the P5+1 with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, and urged Iran to meet its international obligations under UN Security Council and IAEA resolutions. They expressed their hope that proximity talks between Israelis and Palestinians will result in 2 states living side-by-side in peace and security, and reaffirmed the importance of efforts to prevent violent extremism.

The 2 countries have a history of working together, dating back to the beginning of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The U.S. recognized the government of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud in 1931, one year before he declared a unified Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 1943, then-President Franklin Roosevelt declared that "the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States." In February 1945, President Roosevelt hosted King Abdul Aziz aboard the naval cruiser USS Quincy as it lay anchored in the Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal. This meeting, the first between American and Saudi leaders, shaped future relations between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, marking the beginning of official US-Saudi relations.

"Since that historic meeting that took place 65 years ago between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and His Majesty’s father, King Abdul-Aziz, we have had a strong and strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia," said President Obama in joint remarks with King Abdullah.

Indeed, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia collaborate on a number of projects to support good governance. The 2 countries have signed a bilateral Science and Technology Agreement in December 2008, and since then, U.S. and Saudi scientists have met and exchanged visits to identify specific projects for collaboration. The 2 countries cooperate extensively on health issues, education, support of civil society, and increasing bilateral trade and investment.

"We will continue to work together," said President Obama, "to expand the people-to-people contacts, the educational programs, the commercial ties, the business people who are working together in both countries so that not only do our governments remain strong partners but our people are continually enriching both countries."