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U.S.-Saudi Relationship "in a good place," Gates says

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates emerged from a 90-minute meeting with Saudi King Abdullah here today convinced that the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is “in a good place.”

Gates said he had an “extremely cordial, warm meeting” with the Saudi monarch. The secretary said he and the king discussed how to prevent Iran and extremist groups from trying to exploit the recent turmoil in the Middle East.

Gates said the Saudis don’t seem to be particularly concerned about the unrest spreading to Saudi Arabia, but they are concerned about the region, including Iran.

“We already have evidence that the Iranians are trying to exploit the situation in Bahrain,” Gates said, “and we also have evidence that they’re talking about what they can do to create problems elsewhere, as well.”

The secretary said he and Abdullah also talked about the breadth of the bilateral and military-to-military relationships between the United States and Saudi Arabia, as well as various programs associated with U.S.-Saudi relations.

Today’s visit marked the seventh Middle Eastern country Gates has visited since mid-March.

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