Photos: President Barack and Michelle Obama Visit King Salman

January 27, 2015 11:26 pm

President Barack Obama cut short his trip to India to fly to Riyadh on
Tuesday to pay his respects following the death of King Abdullah and
meet his successor, King Salman. The Obamas were greeted by an armed
Saudi honor guard and a military band playing the national anthems for
both the US and

Several members of the all-male Saudi delegation refused to shake First Lady Michelle Obama’s hand.

First Lady Michelle Obama covered up her arms for the officials meeting with leaders of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive nations in the world when it comes to women's rights

US President Barack Obama led a heavyweight delegation to Saudi
Arabia to meet new King Salman and discuss the two countries’ ongoing
fight against the Islamic State group.
The leaders also tackled
the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme and human rights in the
conservative kingdom, a senior US official said.

President Barack Obama cut short his trip to India to fly to Riyadh on Tuesday to pay his respects following the death of King Abdullah and meet his successor, King Salman

Riyadh has been part of the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes
against Isis since last year and is a long-time regional ally of

But analysts say Riyadh has grown dissatisfied with what it
sees as a lack of American engagement in crises elsewhere, including
Yemen and Libya, as the US looks to Asia.
There has also been
unease in the kingdom about Mr Obama’s pursuit of a nuclear deal with
Shiite-dominated Iran, the regional rival of Sunni-majority Saudi
Members of the 29-member bipartisan US delegation, which
included former Bush-era officials, said they wanted to show support for
the US-Saudi relationship.
“I believe it is important that we
demonstrate to the Saudis the importance that they represent to us,”
said James Baker, secretary of state during the first Gulf War against
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
“This is an extraordinarily
critical and sensitive time in the Middle East when everything seems to
be falling apart. And the kingdom in some way is becoming an island of
The Americans arrived for a four-hour stop from
India, where Mr Obama cut short a state visit following the death Friday
of Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah.
Saudi television showed
Salman, 79, welcoming Mr Obama and his wife Michelle at the bottom of a
red-carpeted ramp before a military band played the US and Saudi
national anthems.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama stand with new Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz they arrive on Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle descend from Air Force One upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia. Photo / AP
contrast to Saudi women, required to dress head-to-toe in black, Mrs
Obama wore dark slacks and a blue top with her hair uncovered.
Prince Moqren and Mohammed bin Nayef, the powerful interior minister
who is second in line to the throne, were among those greeting the
The US president then boarded a black limousine taking
him for talks and dinner with Salman at central Riyadh’s Erga Palace,
the king’s private residence where the smell of incense hung heavily in
the air.

Secretary of State John Kerry (right) was also on hand to pay his respects to King Salman and offer condolences about his half-brother
The palace guards stood at attention for the American guests
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