Saudi King to Visit Washington

Saudi officials say King Salman will visit the United States early next month and meet President Barack Obama.

Elad Benari ,

Saudi Arabia's King Salman
Saudi Arabia's King Salman

Saudi officials on Tuesday said that King Salman will visit the United States early next month, for the first time since ascending the throne, and will meet with President Barack Obama.

The diplomats told The Associated Press that the Saudi king is expected in Washington on September 5 for a visit that could last two to three days.

Salman, who ascended the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah, is expected to then visit Egypt before returning to Saudi Arabia, according to AP.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The king made headlines in May when he skipped a summit of Persian Gulf leaders with Obama, in which the president offered the Gulf leaders reassurances over the nuclear deal with Iran.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister later insisted that King Salman's last minute decision not to attend the summit was not intended as a snub to the United States.

Arab governments, including Saudi Arabia, have been expressing their concern over the deal with Iran, warning that a final agreement could allow the Shiite-dominated country to keep the technologies needed to produce nuclear weapons.

In fact, last month King Salman expressed concerns over the Islamic Republic's terror regime and accountability in a meeting with American Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

The Saudi point of view is a rare acknowledgement of agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have no formal diplomatic contact but have reportedly been growing more cooperative as the deal has progressed. 

Nevertheless, the United States earlier this month received a vote of confidence on the deal with Iran, as Gulf Arab states welcomed the deal though they said they would like further assurances that the U.S. would help them counter increasing Iranian assertiveness in the region.