JEDDAH, 28 September 2005 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan held talks with Karen Hughes, US undersecretary for public diplomacy and a close aide to US President George W. Bush, here yesterday.
Hughes commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts in fighting terrorism. “I salute the Kingdom’s efforts to work with us to combat terrorism,” she said. Her comments came as Bush, in a memorandum to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said Saudi Arabia was cooperating in the war on terrorism.
Hughes is on a regional tour aimed at improving the image of the United States, widely reviled in the Arab and Muslim world over its 2003 invasion of Iraq and support for Israel. “One of my missions is to listen. I hope to listen, to seek to understand, to show respect,” said Hughes.
Hughes also met with Saudi journalists. Turki Al-Sudairy, chairman of the Saudi Journalists Association, thanked Bush for his efforts to improve Saudi-US ties despite an anti-Saudi campaign by a section of the American media. During the meeting, she also praised King Abdullah for promoting tolerance and dialogue in Saudi society.