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24 February 2024

Obama phones Saudi king


President Barack Obama on Tuesday telephoned Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in New York where the monarch is recovering from surgery, a White House spokesman said.

Obama "spoke to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to wish him well as he continues to recover from his recent surgery, and thanked him for receiving Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton in New York last week," the spokesman said.

Obama also brought up Lebanon with the Saudi king, with Prime Minister (Saad) Hariri set to visit the White House on Wednesday.

"The President told the King that, in light of their shared commitment to Lebanon's welfare and to supporting (Hariri), he looks forward to continuing to work together with Saudi Arabia and other partners to support Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and stability."

The king, who is about 86 years old, flew to New York on November 22 and was operated on two days later for a debilitating herniated disc complicated by a hematoma that put pressure on his spine.

Obama will meet Hariri on Wednesday to discuss, among other matters, a UN probe into the murder of his father and ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.

The talks will take place amid US concern at a political crisis sparked by the United Nations probe and perceived pressure by the militant group Hezbollah on Hariri to disavow its findings.