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Kerry urges US to 'stay on track' with Saudi Arabia

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, in Riyadh. His visit is aimed at easing tensions with Washington's greatest regional ally over Syria and Iran.

Speaking from the US Embassy in the Saudi capital on Monday, Kerry remarked that the US relationship with Saudi Arabia should stay "on track."

"Right now we have some very important things to talk about to make certain the Saudi-US relationship is on track, moving forward and doing the things that we need to accomplish," he told embassy staff.

The Saudis, Kerry added, have the ability "to influence a lot of the things that we also care about," praising them as "really the senior player in the Arab world."

Speaking ahead of talks with Saudi King al-Faisal, Kerry said that Washington and Riyadh need to discuss "a lot happening in this region," highlighting political turmoil in Egypt, the war in Syria and Iran's nuclear aspiration.

Saudi Arabia, Washington's greatest Arab ally, is upset with the US about what it believes is a weak foreign policy that allows Israeli settlement construction to carry on within the Palestinian territories and allowing the conflict in Syria to continue.

The visit came on day two of Kerry's 10-day tour of the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Other scheduled stops include Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco and Poland.

jlw/mz (Reuters, AP, AFP)