Obama’s ties with Saudi Arabia? Solid gold

June 3, 2009

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - If you worried U.S. President Barack Obama might not handle diplomacy with the energy-rich Saudi rulers as deftly as Texas oilman George W. Bush, fear no longer.
 
No sooner had Obama landed in Riyadh for a day of meetings with King Abdullah than he was OBAMA/SAUDI ARABIAsporting a big gold medal around his neck — the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit.
 
It’s the country’s highest honor — named for the founder of the modern Saudi state.
 
Bush, too, was awarded one on his first visit to the kingdom. It just took the former president seven years — till January 2008 — to visit Saudi Arabia.
 
Obama managed to get his in under five months, at only his second meeting with the king.
 
During the first meeting — in London — the U.S. leader famously greeted the Saudi monarch with something that looked suspiciously like a bow but was hard to tell exactly because a guy was standing in the way.
 
Protocol-wise, heads of state do not generally bow by way of greeting. But then Michelle Obama was busy patting Queen Elizabeth on the back, so protocol was kind of out the window anyway.
 
There were other signs on Wednesday that the U.S. and Saudi leaders were getting along well.
 
The White House says Obama has been consulting with Abdullah regularly by phone about the speech to the Islamic world that he will give from Cairo on Thursday.
 
Their meeting at King Abdullah’s sprawling farm outside Riyadh was scheduled to go for about two hours. Instead it lasted about three.
 
For more Reuters political news, please click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama tries on gold medal received from King Abdullah)

11 comments

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I wish to comment on a related article titled “US pressures on Israel draws concerns in U.S” today.

Its congress representatives like Anthony Weiner and Shelley Berkley and Joseph Crowley that derail any kind of meaningful peace talks that the Head of states can have. I realise U.S. is a democratic country and anyone can say or do anything that is legally appropriate so we cannot really prevent anyone from having their say.

If these people truly had the best interests of Israel, from showing these kinds of one-sided Israel support. It does more damage than help. At best they should refrain from showing the rest of the world how easily manipulative the congress and unwittingly Israel can be by exerting the pressure on the back-end behind close doors.

Canadian Catholic

Posted by Anna | Report as abusive

It is inconceivable to me as to why our president is once
again flitting around attempting to appease those in the
middle east. He is well aware of his obligations according
to treaties signed before his arrival in the White House.
We have more urgent and pressing matters in America that require his undivided attention. Receiving a solid gold
medal from the king of Saudi Arabia is hardly a necessity.
Further, why does he need the king’s advice on his speech.
He is never at a loss for words here with his teleprompter.

It is good to see our president reaching out to all in order to establish friendly relations. Talking hurts no one.

Posted by Sheila | Report as abusive

Wow. An extra hour, no scheduled visit to Israel let alone using Jerusalem as a jumping off place.

Needed change indeed.

Obama today in Cairo,Egypt
all the world will follow his message from cairo uni.
i hope it be the new page between islamic people and foreign countries

i am pleased he has stopped the bowing,he would look silly if he bowed and this trinket fell of his head.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Quran says the non-muslims can never be true friends of muslims no matter what muslims do to please them. So dear Mr. King, this gold medal of yours is just a waste of public money.

Posted by Azeem Anwer | Report as abusive

Let’s give Obama a chance to see what he can do. After all, at one point he himself was the only person on the planet who believed that he could be elected president. He was right, and everybody else was wrong. Since President Obama clearly knows more than the rest of us about politics (and about himself), and since diplomacy is closely related to politics, I say we have to give the man a chance to see what he can do as far as the Middle East is concerned.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

Its amazing that U.S Congressmen and U.S Senators speak against their own country President to side with Israel. Every time a U.S President says something against Israel they start to go crazy on him. Who are they really loyal too?

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Why? Because the US runs on fossil fuels. Even though Egypt has proven that the best interests of Americans are not first and fore most. As he spoke oil spiked up. I too am shocked that he went there after their assistance in the economic havoc of 9-11 – but he did. It’s a shame I know yet as president and custodian of the American people he has to keep the machines running on an affordable fuel ($10 gas?) until his green energy and off-shore drilling takes hold.
Oh wait,sorry. I was wrong. He needs that trinket to send by envelope in the mail for a check for capital to pay for the development of those goals. My mistake.

The medal Obamanation received is Illuminati, investigate the blood line of obama through his mother, he is related to 5 u.s presidents who were masons.

Posted by mik | Report as abusive

[...] and copyright: Reuters. It’s actually an interesting image, see the entire picture and story here. It’s Obama getting the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit. As Reuters describes it: [...]