King Salman meets Centcom commander Kenneth McKenzie in Riyadh
The two sides discussed key military interests and plans for stability in the region
Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met US Central Command commander Gen Kenneth McKenzie in Riyadh to discuss co-operation between the two countries, especially in military matters.
They reviewed relations between the two countries and the latest developments in the region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
Saudi Arabia is a key military ally to the US and an important partner in US President Donald Trump’s plan to form the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
But the US has struggled to establish Mesa with Saudi Arabia, as it tries to deal with disagreements over the military organisation's goals.
Egypt last week withdrew from Mesa, casting more doubts over the alliance's viability and whether Mr Trump can get the bloc off the ground.
Cairo's withdrawal, however, has not detracted from Washington and Riyadh’s aim of countering Iran’s growing influence in the region and stopping Tehran interfering in Arab affairs.
The two countries’ strong military interests were further confirmed in the US' appointment of a retired four-star general and the longest-serving commander of Central Command, John Abizaid, as the American ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The US Senate voted overwhelmingly last week to fill the important diplomatic post that has been left vacant for more than two years.
Mr Abizaid was the longest-serving commander of Central Command, from 2003 until he retired in 2007. He served in the Gulf, Grenada, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Saudi Arabia spends billions of dollars on American weapons and more on investments in the country.
Updated: April 17, 2019 12:49 AM