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Carter Reaffirms U.S.-Saudi Strategic Relationship’s Importance

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 04, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter today reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia strategic relationship during a meeting here with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Cook said the leaders discussed mutual concerns in the region, including the ongoing crisis in Yemen and the importance of reaching a negotiated political settlement there.

Building on commitments made at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit hosted by President Barack Obama at Camp David in May and Carter’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia in July, the secretary took the opportunity to further conversations on Saudi Arabia’s underlying defense requirements and supporting Saudi efforts to build capacity to counter new and emerging security challenges within the region, Cook said.

Future Regional Defense Capabilities

Carter reiterated that future regional defense capabilities not only would need to provide conventional deterrence, but also would have to address unconventional and asymmetric threats the region is most likely to face from Iran, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and others, the press secretary said. 

The secretary also participated in a meeting at the White House earlier today with Obama and King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, along with other members of the Saudi delegation, Cook added.