US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has met with his Saudi counterpart in Washington to discuss conflicts in the Middle East, including their fight against purported positions of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, according to the Pentagon.
Carter and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and the son of King Salman, met Thursday to discuss Daesh as well as Saudi Arabia’s effort to upgrade its military capabilities, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters following the meeting.
“Today’s meeting follows productive conversations in Riyadh during the [Persian Gulf Cooperation Council] summit and many other interactions, including Minister Salman’s previous visit to the Pentagon in September,” the press secretary said.
Cook said Washington and Riyadh seek continued cooperation to counter extremist groups plus regional as well as other shared security concerns.
Mohammed bin Salman, 30, has already met several senior US officials during his week-long visit to Washington, including Secretary of State John Kerry, CIA director John Brennan and leading members of Congress.
US President Barack Obama will also meet the prince on Friday, a White House spokesman said Thursday.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the meeting would provide an opportunity to discuss issues including the wars in Syria and Yemen and “our cooperation with the Saudis in the campaign against ISIL.”
The meeting with Obama could indicate the prince’s pivotal role in ties between Washington and Riyadh.
Relations between the US and Saudi Arabia recently became strained over a number of issues, including Riyadh’s alleged role in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.