President Obama accepted an "unusual" meeting with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir Friday morning to discuss a range of topics, including the finalized nuclear deal with Iran, after Saudi King Salman asked Obama to do so on Tuesday, the White House said.
The meeting was "unusual" because typically the president meets with other heads of state, which was why it was not listed on Obama's public schedule, White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained Friday afternoon as two large screens behind him flashed headlines supportive of the Iran deal from across the country.
When Obama called Salman on Tuesday to discuss the accord that China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the U.S. reached with Tehran to curb its nuclear weapons program, Salman asked Obama to meet with his foreign minister, Earnest said.
Obama and al-Jubeir discussed "a range of regional and bilateral issues," including the Iran agreement, Earnest said. They discussed how to follow through with the pledge made between and among Persian Gulf nations and the U.S. at Camp David in May to deepen security ties.
At that summit, Obama promised "to deter and confront an external threat to any [Gulf Cooperation Council] state's territorial integrity."
Obama and al-Jubeir also discussed how to "further enhance that close and long-standing partnership" between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Earnest said. Also on the agenda was the "ongoing humanitarian crises in Yemen and Syria" and countering the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
And a large chunk of the conversation revolved around how to deal with Iran's actions, both overt and covert, to destabilize the region, he said
Secretary of State John Kerry met with al-Jubeir on Thursday and said he will travel to the Middle East next month. Defense Secretary Ash Carter heads to the region next week to help ally the concerns of Israel and other Gulf nations who are nervous about the graduated lifting of sanctions on Iran that accompanies the nuclear deal.