- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2014

In an apparent effort to ease strained relations, President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia next month, the White House said Monday.

Mr. Obama will meet with Saudi King Abdullah “as part of regular consultations between our two countries,” the White House said in a statement. The visit will occur in late March after Mr. Obama also travels to the Netherlands, Belgium and to Italy for a meeting with Pope Francis.

The Saudi government’s relationship with Mr. Obama has deteriorated over the administration’s overtures to Iran over denuclearization and its efforts in the Syrian civil war.

The White House said Mr. Obama “looks forward to discussing with King Abdullah the enduring and strategic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia as well as ongoing cooperation to advance a range of common interests related to Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security.”

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