US-Saudi ties holding through Arab Spring: US aide

WASHINGTON- The US-Saudi relationship has remained "in pretty good shape" through the turmoil of the Arab Spring movements, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said Sunday.
"I think that coming out of the beginnings of the Arab Spring (was) so much uproar, so much turmoil and... so much change that we did have some scratchy periods with some partners in the region who are wrestling with this and trying to work through their own views on this," Donilon told CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

He added that despite reports that King Abdullah is unhappy with the US response to Arab Spring movements, the two countries have common interests such as regional stability, restrictions on weapons of mass destruction and counterterrorism operations.
"Our conversations with our partners in the region, including the Saudis I think, have become very constructive and productive. And I can tell you that from personal conversations with King Abdullah," Donilon said.
He added that movements toward a more representative and responsive government "is the healthiest and most stable way" to address long-term Saudi political reforms.
Donilon also touched on Iran's role in the Arab Spring.
He said the Iranians "were not the cause of the Arab Spring... but they've tried to take advantage of it in Syria, in Bahrain and other places around the region."
Donilon also said the United States' offer to hold talks with Iran about their nuclear program have not been taken up by the Iranian government.
"That path remains open to the Iranians to come to the table and deal with the nuclear issues; increasingly serious nuclear issues that not just the United States but the entire world community (...) sees," he said.
He added that recent additional sanctions on Iran mean the country is now subject to the most severe sanctions in the world.

Monday, July 4th 2011

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