Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 4, 2013

US, Saudi present united front on Syria, Iran


Saud, whose country shares concerns with other Gulf Arab states about increasing Iranian aggressiveness in the region, agreed. "We hope that the negotiations will result in putting an end to this problem rather than containing it," he said, "taking into account that the clock is ticking and negotiations cannot go on forever."

In addition to Saud and the Saudi crown prince, Kerry met in Riyadh with the foreign ministers of Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, all of whom are equally wary of Iranian intentions.

In a last-minute addition to his schedule, Kerry also saw Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting the Saudi capital. Kerry's working lunch with Abbas came two weeks before the secretary is to accompany President Barack Obama to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan to explore ways of restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Kerry said he would talk with Abbas about "all the obvious issues" and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of the meeting, which was being held on the same day that Vice President Joe Biden is to address the annual policy conference of the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington.

From Saudi Arabia, Kerry heads into the homestretch of his lengthy first official trip abroad, traveling next to the United Arab Emirates and then Qatar before returning to Washington on Wednesday.

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