Kerry lauds Saudi role in Mideast stability

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets the children of U.S. Embassy employees during a visit to the facility in Riyadh Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. Seeking to bridge multiple policy rifts with Saudi Arabia, Kerry is praising the kingdom's role as "the senior player" in Middle East security. He says cementing the U.S.-Saudi partnership on issues like Syria, Egypt and Iran are critical to regional stability. Speaking to employees at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh on Monday, Kerry said that Saudi Arabia had assumed the Arab leadership mantle from Egypt, which is embroiled in political uncertainty. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia is assuring visiting Secretary of State John Kerry there is no problem with the United States and says "our two friendly countries" are busy dealing with difficult issues like Syria, Iran and the Mideast peace process.

Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said at a joint appearance with Kerry Monday that relations between Riyadh and Washington have always been, quote, "based on sincerity, candor and frankness, rather than mere courtesy."

The prince met with Kerry not long after the Obama administration Cabinet secretary, speaking to U.S. employees at the American Embassy, hailed the kingdom's role as "the senior player" in the Middle East.