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Obama to travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss security, tensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia in March to meet with King Abdullah to discuss a range of security issues in the Middle East that have caused some strains in the bilateral relationship. The rare visit, which comes at the end of an Obama trip to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, will include discussions about "Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security," the White House said in a statement.

Obama to visit Saudi Arabia in March: White House

President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia in March, following clear signs of disquiet in Riyadh about his Middle Eastern policies and nuclear talks with Iran. Obama will fly to meet King Abdullah on a trip added onto existing visits to the Netherlands, Brussels and Vatican City, the White House said in a statement. col/jm

Obama to visit Saudi Arabia in March: White House

US President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia in March, following clear signs of disquiet in Riyadh about his Middle Eastern policies and nuclear talks with Iran. Obama will fly to meet King Abdullah on a trip added onto existing visits to the Netherlands, Brussels and Vatican City, the White House said in a statement on Monday.

Saudi Arabia to jail citizens who fight abroad

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will jail for 3-20 years any citizen who fights in conflicts abroad, according to a royal decree released on Monday, in an apparent move to deter Saudis from joining rebels in Syria and then posing a security risk once they return home. Saudi Arabia's Islamic religious authorities have previously spoken out against Saudis joining Islamist militants involved in Syria's civil war, but the Interior Ministry estimates that around 1,200 Saudis have gone there nonetheless.

Saudi beheads Indian worker for murder

An Indian worker convicted of murdering a Saudi was beheaded by the sword in the Riyadh region Thursday, the interior ministry said. Mohammed Latif was found guilty of having beaten to death his "sponsor," Dhafer bin Mohammed al-Dussari, with a sharp object and then dumping his body in a well, it was quoted by state news agency SPA as saying. A system called "kafala" in Arabic gives local sponsors control over foreign workers in the oil-rich Gulf, often leading to disputes.

Saudi: Iran not eligible to attend Syria peace talks

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia believes Iran is not eligible to attend Syria peace talks to be held in Geneva because it did not publicly agree to a previous conference calling for a transitional government, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday, citing an "official source". "Iran has not announced this position, which makes it ineligible to attend, especially since it has military forces who are fighting side by side with the regime's forces," the source was quoted as saying by SPA.

Saudi prince's firm says to file complaint vs France's EDF

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Soroof International, a conglomerate controlled by a Saudi Arabian prince, said on Sunday that it would file a complaint before Saudi courts against France's state-run utility EDF <EDF.PA>. The Saudi company cited the "faulty execution" by EDF of an agreement between the two sides to form a joint venture in Saudi Arabia that would develop electricity projects.

Saudi expulsions leave broken dreams in Africa and Asia

By Angus McDowall , Praveen Menon and Aaron Maasho RIYADH/DUBAI/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - More than a million people from across the world - managers, maids, accountants and laborers - have left Saudi Arabia since March, after years or even decades working in the Gulf Arab state, which sustains its own citizens with oil revenues. Around 120,000 Ethiopians have been deported in the past month alone as part of a visa crackdown aimed at pushing more Saudis into employment to ensure future political and economic stability.

Saudi religious leader condemns suicide attacks

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, has condemned suicide bombings as grave crimes, reiterating his stance in unusually strong language. The Saudi cleric, whose views influence many Sunni Muslims respectful of the kingdom's strict version of Islam, denounced suicide attacks after al Qaeda's 2001 assault on U.S. cities, but his latest comments recast the message in sharp terms.

Saudi spy chief in new meeting with Putin on Syria

Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has held a new meeting in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on the Syrian conflict, the second closed-door encounter this year between the Russian leader and the key regional powerbroker. The Kremlin said in a statement late Tuesday that Prince Bandar bin Sultan discussed with Putin at the president's suburban Moscow residence the situation in the Middle East and preparations for a Syria peace conference planned in January.
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