International

Obama Seeks King Abdullah's Counsel

Here's the official White House transcript of remarks made by President Barack Obama and Saudi King Abdullah earlier today before their meeting at the king's royal farm in Rihadh:

Question: "Mr. President, what's your message, sir, here?"

President Barack Obama: "This is my first visit to Saudi Arabia, but I've had several conversations with His Majesty. And I've been struck by his wisdom and his graciousness. Obviously the United States and Saudi Arabia have a long history of friendship, we have a strategic relationship. And as I take this trip and we'll be visiting Cairo tomorrow, I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek His Majesty's counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East.

"So I just want to again thank him for his extraordinary generosity and hospitality. And I'm confident that working together the United States and Saudi Arabia can make progress on a whole host of issues and mutual interests."

King Abdullah: (As translated.) "I thank you, Mr. President, for the kind words and the kind sentiments expressed within them. I am not surprised, given the historic and strategic ties between our two countries, I believe that go back to the time of the meeting between the late Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the late King Abdul-Aziz.

"I also want to express my best wishes to the friendly American people who are represented by a distinguished man who deserves to be in this position."

Obama: "Shukran." (Thank you.)

We posted some video of Obama's arrival in Saudi Arabia here.

And NPR's Don Gonyea, who is traveling with the president, has filed this report:

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King Abdullah gave the president the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit today. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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