WASHINGTON: Retired four-star Army General John Abizaid, President Donald Trump's nominee to be ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia plays a “pivotal role” in the fight against global terrorism.
General Abizaid, speaking on Wednesday at his Senate confirmation hearing, said it would be a “great honor” to work on strengthening the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia.
“In the long run, we need a strong and mature partnership with Saudi Arabia,” Abizaid said. “It is in our interests to make sure that the relationship is sound,” he said.
He added that Saudi Arabia's contribution to tackling extremism had effectively cut off funding networks for Daesh — which he said has been “nearly vanquished on the ground,” but remains a “potent threat” to the US and its allies — and that any “reduction of relations between America and Saudi Arabia” would undermine regional security.
Abizaid also blamed the Iranian regime for destabilizing the region.
Military cooperation with Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen was essential for the “self-defense capabilities of our partners and reduces the risk of harm to civilians,” he added.