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Media Availability with Secretary Gates from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates
April 06, 2011

            [This media availability occurred after Secretary Gates met with King Abdullah.]

            SEC. GATES:  We had a very good meeting.  We met for about an hour and a half, one-on-one.  It was an extremely cordial warm meeting.  I think the relationship is in a good place.  We talked about developments all over the region.  We obviously talked about Iran.  We talked about how to prevent disruptive actions.  Extremist organizations trying to take advantage of the turbulence in the region.  We talked about the breadth of our bilateral relationship and our military-to-military relationship and the various programs we have going.  So all in all, I felt very good about it, a very good meeting.

            Q.  Mr. Secretary, how concerned are the Saudis that this trend of unrest in the region will hit them directly or indirectly through the Iranians?

            SEC. GATES:  They didn’t seem particularly concerned about themselves.  They are concerned about the region.

            Q.  What about the Iranians?

            SEC. GATES:  Well, including the Iranians.

            Q.  What way would they take advantage (inaudible)?

            SEC. GATES:  We already have evidence that the Iranians are trying to exploit the situation in Bahrain.  We also have evidence that they are talking about what they can do to try to create problems elsewhere as well.

            GEOFF MORRELL (Pentagon Press Secretary):  Thanks guys, appreciate it.

            Q.  Did you talk about the Saudi troops in Bahrain?  Did you raise that as an issue?

            SEC. GATES:  No

            MR. MORRELL: Thanks guys.

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