King Salman, Pompeo hold discussions

US Secretary of State visits US troops in Kingdom

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Riyadh on Thursday.

RIYADH — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here on Thursday during his three-day trip to the Kingdom.

They discussed the distinguished relations between the Kingdom and the United States. They also reviewed the position of the two countries on regional and international events, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan too met Pompeo here, and, during the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and strategic partnership between the two countries. They also reviewed the joint efforts towards recent developments the region.

During his time in Riyadh, Pompeo also met with a group of Saudi Arabian women business leaders at the residence of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Princess Reema Bint Bandar.

Pompeo also visited the American troops in Saudi Arabia on Thursday after talks with King Salman on the second day of a visit that focused on countering Iran.

The United States began building its military presence at the Prince Sultan airbase, south of Riyadh, last year following a series of attacks in the Gulf that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on their common foe Iran.

"Pompeo's visit to Prince Sultan airbase and a nearby US Patriot battery highlights the long-standing US-Saudi security relationship and reaffirms America's determination to stand with Saudi Arabia in the face of Iranian malign behavior," the State Department said in a statement.

"In response to the attacks and at the request of Saudi Arabia, the United States has deployed missile defense, and fighter jets on a defensive mission to deter and protect against any future attacks."

Pompeo's three-day visit to Saudi Arabia comes in the wake of a US-ordered drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, Iran's most powerful general, as he visited Baghdad on January. — SG/AFP