US Senator John McCain has arrived in Riyadh and held talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, according to official media.
McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, took the trip after he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara to discuss Syria, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The news network gave no details about McCain’s meeting with Salman at his office, but said, “They reviewed the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”
A number of senior Saudi officials, including State Minister Musaed al-Aiban and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, were also present at the meeting.
McCain’s visit comes two days before a new round of United Nations-brokered peace negotiations on Syria in Geneva.
While in Turkey, the Arizona Republican said the alliance between the US and Turkey was “more vital than ever” because of the “growing disorder” in Europe and the Middle East.
McCain also said that the two countries must work to “deal a rapid and lasting defeat” to the Daesh terrorist group “as part of a broader strategy to strengthen US allies and partners, counter the malign influence of our adversaries, and build a favorable balance of power in the region.”
Turkey began a major military intervention in Syria in August last year, sending tanks and warplanes across the border in a purported mission to fight Daesh terrorists.
Ankara has long criticized Washington’s policy on Syria, complaining that its calls for creation of “safe zones” inside the war-torn country were being rejected.
McCain said Erdogan “described a proposal to establish safe zones in Syria and retake Raqqah that should receive serious consideration by the United States.”
The new US president, Donald Trump, has said he is open to the idea of establishing “safe zones” in Syria.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey have both provided military and financial assistance to militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.