TIME Middle East

Obama Will Travel to Saudi Arabia in March

The president's visit will come after a swing through Europe

The White House confirmed on Monday that President Obama will make his first visit to Saudi Arabia in March to meet with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Obama and King Abdullah are expected to discuss the two countries’ bilateral relations and a number of key security issues in the Gulf like regional extremism, spillover from Syria’s civil war and Saudi concerns about the U.S.-led efforts to broker nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Kingdom’s regional adversary.

The trip was first reported last week by the Wall Street Journal, which cited Arab officials claiming relations between the two countries were “deteriorating,” despite the White House’s no-comment. It will be tacked onto the end of Obama’s visits to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, where he will meet Pope Francis.

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