RIYADH, Saudi Arabia –
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded two days of discussions with Saudi leaders here today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford discussed issues of mutual concern with Saudi leaders, including the ongoing campaign against violent extremism.
The chairman kicked off his meetings by speaking with Saudi King Salman. “He reiterated our commitment to the close U.S.-Saudi relationship and the important role Saudi Arabia plays in regional security,” said Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks, special assistant to the chairman for public affairs.
It was Dunford’s first trip to the kingdom as chairman.
The chairman also continued conversations begun last month with his counterpart, Army Gen. Abdulrahman bin Saleh al-Banyan. The two men met Oct. 17 at Joint Base Andrews along with 42 other chiefs of defense for a discussion on the global strategy to defeat violent extremism. That meeting included a review of operations against extremist groups and discussions on further steps to be taken in all domains of warfare against the scourge exemplified by al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Dunford had discussions with the U.S. embassy team in Riyadh and met with the Marine Security Detachment at the embassy.
The chairman also met with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the interior minister, and Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud.
The chairman also met with Minister of the National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.
Saudi Arabia has the largest and best-equipped military in the region. The Saudis are particularly concerned with Iran’s malign influence in the area.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have been close friends since President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with King Abdulaziz al-Saud following the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
The chairman arrived in Saudi Arabia after meeting with Turkish military leaders in Ankara. He left the kingdom and traveled to Baghdad, where he is meeting with Iraqi and U.S. leaders.