Saudi King to visit US next month after earlier ‘snub’
RIYADH - Saudi King Salman will visit the United States next month for the first time since acceding the throne and following a rift over America's rapprochement with Iran, a diplomat said Wednesday.
The monarch would travel to Washington on September 4, the Saudi diplomat said.
He would also attend a US-Saudi forum in Washington to be held on September 4-6, the source said, requesting anonymity.
The forum would focus on "energy, health, petrochemicals as well as financial services," among other issues, said the diplomat.
The king made headlines in May when he skipped a summit of Persian Gulf leaders with Obama, in which the president offered the Gulf leaders reassurances over the nuclear deal with Iran.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister later insisted that King Salman's last minute decision not to attend the summit was not intended as a snub to the United States.
Arab governments, including Saudi Arabia, have been expressing their concern over the deal with Iran, warning that a final agreement could allow the Shiite-dominated country to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons.
In fact, last month King Salman expressed concerns over the Islamic Republic's terror regime and accountability in a meeting with American Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
Washington has sought to allay the concerns of its traditional allies over a historic deal it and other world powers reached with Tehran over the Islamic republic's suspect nuclear programme.
Since late last year, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has also been part of a US-led coalition bombing the Islamic State group which has occupied parts of Iraq and Syria.
US aerial refuelling, intelligence and other assistance have also supported a Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.