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Saudi king rejected U.S. appeal in declining to meet with Iraqi leader

Saudi king rejected U.S. appeal in declining to meet with Iraqi leader

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah ignored U.S. advice when he declined to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki on the eve of international meetings in Egypt on Iraq's future, the U.S State Department said Monday.
While acknowledging the Saudi rebuff, spokesman Sean McCormack noted that the kingdom will be represented at the meetings, including one in which the Saudis are expected to announce significant debt relief for Iraq.
The meeting will launch the International Compact with Iraq, under which the country will receive outside assistance in exchange for internal reforms.
The Saudis also will be present for a meeting of Iraq's neighbors, McCormack said, calling this an important show of support for an evolution toward the U.S. goal of a peaceful, unified Iraq.
The presence of Iran and Syria at the meeting also will be a demonstration of their support for Iraq, he said.
Abdullah's brush off of the Iraqi leader came a month after the monarch derided the American military presence in Iraq as an "illegitimate foreign occupation."
Asked whether Abdullah's snub was a disappointment, McCormack said, "We did encourage him to meet with Prime Minister al-Maliki. He chose not to...Those are individual choices that the Saudis, as well as others, have to make."
He dismissed the Saudi decision to "a difference in tactics."
On the other hand, he said the United States and Saudi Arabia share the same objectives in the region, including the establishment of a Middle East that is more stable, peaceful and prosperous; of a Palestinian state and of democratic outcomes in Iraq and Lebanon.


Updated : 2021-02-25 16:39 GMT+08:00