King Abdullah in US for interfaith meeting

Posted in United States , Broader Middle East | 09-Nov-08 | Source: Gulf in the Media

Saudi King Abdullah, pictured in June 2008.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who arrived here Friday night, held talks on phone with US President-elect Barack Obama and emphasized the historic and deep-rooted relations between the two countries.

“The two leaders exchanged friendly talks,” the Saudi Press Agency said. It was the first direct contact between King Abdullah and Obama since the latter was elected president of the United States in the historic Nov. 4 polls.

Earlier, King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan had sent congratulatory messages to Obama on his landmark election victory.

King Abdullah said Saudi Arabia was looking forward to working together with the United States in order to achieve peace and justice as well as to reinforce security and stability in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Muhammad bin Ahmed Tayeb, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s regional office, said he expected Saudi-US relations to reach new heights during the Obama presidency.

He said Obama’s victory had raised hopes and aspirations for peace, security and stability around the world. “We, in this part of the world which has suffered tremendously for the last six decades from the atrocities of occupation, insecurity and injustice, have great hope that the change that has come to America will also come to our region and bring with it a just and durable peace, security and prosperity,” Tayeb said.

Traveling from the Moroccan city of Casablanca, King Abdullah arrived in New York to attend a special session of the UN General Assembly on interfaith dialogue on Nov. 12.

Many world leaders including US President George W. Bush, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Jordan’s King Abdallah and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman are expected to attend.

Prominent Islamic scholars have said that the UN conference would help achieve the globalization of interfaith dialogue. “It offers a golden opportunity for politicians to promote world peace and put an end to wars and conflicts,” they said.