Obama gets diplomatic snub as Saudi Arabia shows its anger over 9/11 bill

Andrew Buncombe | Independent

Barack Obama endured something of a diplomatic snub as he arrived in Saudi Arabia for crucial talks about tackling Isis.

The long, roller-coaster relationship between the US and the kingdom two countries is going through one its rockier phases, with the Saudi government furious about a bill passing through the US Congress that could leave it open to lawsuits over its alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Mr Obama has opposed the bill and has threatened to veto it if it reaches his desk. But the US president was made clear of Saudi’s displeasure when he arrived at King Khalid International Airport and was met not by King Salman but by a lower-ranking royal, Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud, the governor of Riyadh.

Ahead of Mr Obama’s arrival, Saudi state television showed the king personally greeting senior officials from other Gulf nations arriving at the King Salman Air Base, the Associated Press reported.

Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Gulf Research Centre, said the Saudi decision not to dispatch a high-level delegation to greet the president was unusual and intended to send a clear message that they had little faith in him. 

“He will find a leadership that’s not ready to believe him,” he told the news agency. “The Saudis had disagreements with previous presidents. Here you have deep distrust that the president won’t deliver anything.”

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