For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 16, 2008
Fact Sheet: Strengthening Diplomatic Ties with Saudi Arabia
United States And Saudi Arabia Improve Peace And Stability In The Region Through Nuclear Cooperation
Today, President Bush met with King Abdallah to commemorate the 75th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Since 1933, these two nations have enjoyed formal relations. In 1945, during the waning months of World War II, King Abdallah's father King Abd al-Aziz met with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt aboard the U.S.S. Quincy in the Red Sea, and the two leaders chose to deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries. The President's visit today builds on this tradition of friendship and close cooperation.
- It is in the spirit of that meeting that the United States and Saudi Arabia have completed four critical agreements to strengthen the protection of energy resources, enhance peaceful nuclear cooperation, broaden the fight against global terrorism, and bolster nonproliferation. These agreements further cement the longstanding U.S.-Saudi friendship and close cooperation to help bring peace and stability to the region and its people.
The United States And Saudi Arabia Will Work Together To Further Our Relationship
The Saudis bear a special responsibility for protecting key energy facilities of global importance and the world benefits from their abundant energy supplies. Our global economy depends greatly on Saudi Arabian energy. The U.S. has a keen interest in helping the Saudis protect their energy infrastructure against terrorism, as demonstrated by the unsuccessful terrorist attack against the Kingdom's Abqaiq Plants in February 2006. To this end, the United States and Saudi Arabia have agreed to cooperate in safeguarding the Kingdom's energy resources by protecting key infrastructure, enhancing Saudi border security, and meeting Saudi Arabia's expanding energy needs in an environmentally responsible manner.
- Saudi Arabia will join the 70 partner nations of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. As a partner in this multilateral initiative, Saudi Arabia will:
- Enhance its accountability and physical protection of nuclear systems
- Advance its capability to search for and confiscate unlawfully held nuclear material
- Improve its ability to detect nuclear material to prevent illicit trafficking
- Enhance its means to secure civilian nuclear facilities
- Deny safe havens and economic resources to terrorists
- Create legal frameworks to enforce criminal liability for terrorists
- Improve its response and mitigation capabilities in the event of a terrorist attack
- Promote information sharing to suppress acts of nuclear terrorism
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will also join more than 85 states participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The PSI is a response to the growing challenge posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery vehicles, and related materials worldwide. PSI participants will now include Saudi Arabia and all states that border it.
- The U.S. will help the Saudis develop both human and infrastructure resources in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency guidance and standards.
- In order to ensure a smooth supply of energy to the world, Saudi Arabia must be able to effectively safeguard its borders and coasts, and ensure consistent supplies of water and power to its citizens.
- Under the Critical Infrastructure Protection agreement, the two nations have agreed to establish a Joint Commission on Infrastructure and Border Protection to facilitate training, the exchange of experts and specialized knowledge, and other support services as needed.
- The U.S. and Saudi Arabia will also conclude a security agreement that will allow for broadened cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Interior and the U.S. Government.
- The U.S. and Saudi Arabia will sign a Memorandum of Understanding in the area of peaceful civil nuclear energy cooperation. This agreement will pave the way for Saudi Arabia's access to safe, reliable fuel sources for energy reactors and demonstrate Saudi leadership as a positive non-proliferation model for the region.
- The United States will assist the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to develop civilian nuclear power for use in medicine, industry, and power generation.
- The Government of the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will establish a comprehensive framework for cooperation in the development of environmentally sustainable, safe, and secure civilian nuclear energy through a series of complementary agreements.
# # #