RIYADH — U.S. President Barack Obama paid a visit on Friday to Riyadh for talks with Saudi King Abdullah as mistrust fuelled by differences over Iran and Syria has overshadowed a decades-long alliance between their countries. Obama arrived in the Saudi capital from Italy.
Saudi Arabia has strong reservations about efforts by Washington and other major world powers to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
It is also disappointed over Obama's 11th-hour decision last year not to take military action against the Syrian regime over chemical weapons attacks.
Saudi Arabia, the largest power in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, fears that a possible U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East and a diplomatic overture towards Iran would further feed Tehran's regional ambitions.
The Iranian-Saudi rivalry has also crystallized in the context of the Syrian conflict where Tehran backs Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, while several GCC states support the rebellion.
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