Riyadh | US President Barack Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia today hoping to ease tensions with longtime ally Riyadh. Dressed in a grey suit, Obama emerged at 1:14 pm (10:14 GMT) and descended the steps of Air Force One at the Saudi capital’s King Khalid International Airport.
During his two-day visit, the fourth of his eight years as president, Obama is to meet Saudi King Salman and attend a Gulf summit, in which he hopes to focus discussions on the fight against jihadist groups and efforts to end wars in Syria and Yemen.
Unusually, the Saudi state news channel Al-Ekhbaria did not broadcast Obama’s arrival even though minutes earlier it had live coverage of Gulf monarchs being greeted at the airport. Tensions between Riyadh and Washington have increased due to what Saudi Arabia sees as Obama’s disengagement from the region and tilt towards its Shiite rival Iran.