Gates, in Riyadh, seeks Saudi help on Iran sanctions

Gates, in Riyadh, seeks Saudi help on Iran sanctions

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah for support lobbying for U.N. sanctions against Iran on Wednesday and discussed ways to boost the kingdom's air and missile defenses, Reuters reported.

The United States is leading a push for the U.N. Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, and aides to Gates made no secret of their hopes that Saudi Arabia could press regional allies for help.

"We are certainly hopeful that the Saudis will use whatever influence they have, which is considerable, in this region and throughout the world to try to help us," said Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary, after the talks.

The visit is the latest in a string of high-level trips by U.S. officials to Saudi Arabia in recent months with Iran topping the agenda. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer, have both traveled here.

A senior U.S. defense official said Saudi officials were supportive of Washington's shift to pressuring Iran, after attempts by President Barack Obama to engage Tehran failed to produce results.

Israel's U.N. envoy cautioned this week that the outlook for imposing tough new sanctions on Iran was increasingly grim, as Russia and China worked to slow down the effort.

"It was our strong impression that this overall approach was one that the Saudis were supportive of," the U.S. official said.

The United States has expanded land and sea-based missile defense systems in and around the Gulf to counter what it sees as Iran's growing missile threat, and arms sales to Gulf allies have risen sharply in recent years.

Saudi Arabia bought $3.3 billion in U.S. arms in fiscal 2009, according to a Pentagon estimate, and U.S. officials said Gates focused on broadening defenses further.

"The secretary described his interest in continuing to work with the Saudis and other countries in the Gulf to build up their air and missile defense capabilities," a U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Part of the U.S. effort involves promoting integration of regional defenses in the Gulf, such as early warning systems.

"The Iranians are really a primary motivation for much of the region to stand up," the official said.

Before arriving in Riyadh, Gates and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traded barbs during briefly overlapping visits to Afghanistan earlier on Wednesday.

As an in Iraq, where the U.S. sees Iran meddling, Gates has accused Tehran of playing a "double game" in Afghanistan by being friendly to Kabul while undermining the U.S. war effort.

Ahmadinejad, at a separate event, said: "What are you even doing in this area? You are from 10,000 km over there. Your country is on the other side of the world."

Gates, who also met Saudi Arabia's crown prince, pressed for Saudi engagement in Iraq, particularly as Washington prepares to withdraw its forces by the end of 2011.

King Abdullah has refused to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki or open a Saudi embassy in Baghdad, and U.S. officials acknowledged little action was likely until the outcome of Iraq's Sunday parliamentary elections was clear.

"They're watching closely what the outcome of the election is. Hopefully, whatever results (they) will prevail upon them to be more engaged in Baghdad," the official said.

Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as the bastion of Sunni Islam, is alarmed at rising Iranian influence and the postwar dominance of Iraq's previously disempowered Shi'ite majority.

Initial results of Iraq's national election are likely be released by Thursday, but signs have already emerged of a strong showing for Maliki.

Gates also raised instability in Yemen, which U.S. and Saudi officials fear al Qaeda is exploiting in order to use the country as a base to prepare attacks in the region and beyond.

The Yemen-based regional arm of al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound passenger plane in December, and the U.S. has stepped up counter-terrorism assistance to the country.

"The Saudis share our concerns ... (the threat has) been very real and close to the Saudis," the official said.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran boosts exports to Russia
Iran boosts exports to Russia
Iran sees increase in trade turnover with EAEU member states
Iran sees increase in trade turnover with EAEU member states
Iran records increase in load/unload operations in Amirabad port
Iran records increase in load/unload operations in Amirabad port
Loading Bars
Azerbaijan looks to sign document on demining liberated territories with France
Azerbaijan's Air Defense Units carrying out combat firing exercises (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Karabakh to be famous for its "smart cities" and agricultural products - Turkish ambassador
Iran boosts exports to Russia
Russia registers over 1,000 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours first since pandemic starts
Kazakh energy minister names reasons for shutdown of Pavlodar refinery
Iran sees increase in trade turnover with EAEU member states
Representatives of diplomatic corps view restoration work in liberated territories (PHOTO)
First plane with UN humanitarian aid for Afghanistan arrives in Uzbekistan
Iran records increase in load/unload operations in Amirabad port
Georgia and US to discuss co-op in Black Sea
Fuzuli Airport Granted International Status and Assigned IATA Code
Uzbekistan to fund startups in various sectors
U.S. lawmaker blames Boeing leaders for culture that led to crashes
Turkmenistan to purchase agricultural machinery from foreign manufacturers
Iran Energy Exchange shares data on sales of Iran’s Jam Petrochemical Company
Azerbaijan names gymnasts to perform at World Championships in Japan
During former occupation of Sugovushan, Armenia deprived vast lands of water - aide to Azerbaijani president (PHOTO)
Volume of loaded and unloaded cargo in Iran’s Noshahr Port down
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 16
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Turkmenistan over 8M2021
Exports of steel manufacturers in Iran increase
Georgia, EU, and Turkey enter into "diagonal cumulation" agreement
Azerbaijani sees increase in oil prices
Iran raises ceiling on housing loans
Uzbekistan’s FEZ creates good basis for deepening co-op with Azerbaijan
Turkmenistan’s private enterprise eyes building dry cargo vessel
Trade turnover between Russia, US may hit record this year, says Deputy PM Overchuk
Iran to launch several shipping lines to Russia, Kazakhstan
Iran looks to improve transportation of goods from Khuzestan Province
Russia’s Korona Pay eyes expanding money transfers via Azerbaijan's mobile banking apps
Gas prices in Europe to remain high over next 6 months
Iranian currency rates for October 16
Turkmenistan's electric potential rises after commissioning new capacious power plants
Iran to increase fuel production
UK MP killing was terrorist incident, Met Police say
Representatives of diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan begin visit to Sugovushan
Czech Republic eyes to support improvement of Georgian air transport infrastructure
1,900 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
Biden says those who refuse to testify in Jan 6 probe should be prosecuted
ISIS claims responsibility for mosque attack in Afghan city of Kandahar
Fully vaccinated foreign visitors can enter U.S. starting on Nov. 8
China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docks with space station module
UK records more than 40,000 COVID cases for third day in a row
Biden says Clinton will be released ‘shortly’ from California hospital
Amazon-owned Twitch says source code exposed in last week's data breach
Israel's annual inflation up 2.5 pct, highest in nearly decade
Africa's COVID-19 cases surpass 8.41 mln: Africa CDC
US shares specific data on cybercrime with Russia, awaits its actions, White House says
Saudi Arabia appoints Al-Rabiah as new Hajj minister
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev interviewed by Turkish A Haber TV channel on October 16, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 16, 2020
Czech PM Babis pledges smooth power handover to opposition
UK MP dies after being stabbed at constituency meeting
China’s Shenzhou-13 manned spacecraft successfully reach orbit
Four migrants dead, 21 missing off Spanish coast
FIA approves schedule for Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2022
COVID-19 kills 197 more Iranians over past 24 hours
Georgian FM meets Slovenian counterpart
Armenia trying to prepare ground for new provocations against Azerbaijan by spreading fake information - MoD
Azerbaijani FM discusses mine threat in liberated territories with French CNEMA delegates (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan lifts flight restrictions for number of countries
Azerbaijani President signs law "On Independence Day"
EBRD to allocate loan to Turkmen beverage company
Azerbaijan records decline in fixed capital revenues for 9M2021
Turkmenistan, WB talk new areas of co-op
Uzbek-Korean JV announces tender to buy clarifier
Gasoline prices in Georgia increase
Money transfers to Azerbaijan via Golden Crown service grow for 9M2021
Iran looking to develop renewable energy - SATBA
Azerbaijani MoD discusses mine clearing in liberated territories with French delegation (PHOTO)
Iran eyeing increase in trade with Spain
Export-oriented local Georgian company to get benefits within USAID program
Saudi Arabia to ease coronavirus curbs from Oct. 17
Russia, Venezuela developing secured messenger — Rostec
Kazatomprom to look for new ways to bolster nuclear energy for peaceful purposes
Turkmenistan discloses area allotted for sowing winter barley in Dashoguz region
Agreement with Azerbaijan on additional gas supplies aimed at ensuring Turkey's gas reserves – Erdogan
First container train on its way to Azerbaijan's Karabakh (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Uzbekneftegaz receives gas flow from well at Khojikazgan field
Kazakhstan to exempt Caspian oil exports from customs duties
Kazakhstan unveils data on trade with other EAEU states
Volume of financial assets of non-financial corporations in Georgia increases
LUKOIL Uzbekistan to buy ceramic balls for catalysts via tender
Azerbaijan, as victorious country, is ready to normalize relations. We hope that Armenian leadership will not pass up on this historic opportunity - President Aliyev
U.S. administers 405.4 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Кazakh national telecommunications operator opens tender to buy spares
Geostat shares data on revenues of Georgian enterprises for 2020
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Netherlands’ FMO is open to new investments in Uzbek financial sector (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan confirms 1,850 more COVID-19 cases, 735 recoveries
Student of Baku Higher Oil School: ‘I am proud to bear the name of such a historical figure!’
French Renault begins production and commercial activities in Uzbekistan
NEQSOL Holding supports ADA University’s project to restore Gazakh Seminary (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's agrarian agency discloses volume of issued subsidies in 9M2021
Money transfers to Georgia exceed investments
Russian peacekeepers - guarantors of peace in Karabakh - President Putin
Georgian air cargo transportation decreases
Azerbaijan ready to start talks with Armenia on delimitation of borders - President Ilham Aliyev
TAP helped in reducing European gas market volatility
All news