US President Barack Obama (C) is welcomed by officials upon his arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB
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U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Riyadh on Friday, aiming to persuade King Abdullah Saudi Arabian concerns that America is slowly disengaging from the Middle East are unfounded.Saudi rulers are hoping for the United States to shift its position on support for Syrian rebels, whom Riyadh has backed in their battle to oust President Bashar al-Assad."That's part of the reason why I think our relationship with the Saudis is in a stronger place today than it was in the fall when we had some tactical differences about our Syria policy," he told reporters on Air Force One.But he added Washington still had concerns over the supply of manpads to rebels, and that one of the main topics Obama and Abdullah would discuss would be how to empower the moderate opposition to counter Assad and isolate extremist groups.
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