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Obama faces rights criticism after Saudi visit focused on ties

Published on Mar 29, 2014 9:15 PM
 
US President Barack Obama (front left) is escorted from Marine One to Air Force One as he departs Saudi Arabia to return to Washington, on March 29, 2014. President Obama flew home from Saudi Arabia on Saturday under fire for not doing more to raise human rights concerns on a visit dominated by smoothing policy differences with a longtime ally. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH (AFP) - US President Barack Obama flew home from Saudi Arabia on Saturday under fire for not doing more to raise human rights concerns on a visit dominated by smoothing policy differences with a longtime ally.

Obama met a campaigner for the rights of women in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom before leaving on Saturday morning.

But despite appeals from US lawmakers, he did not raise any rights issues in his talks with King Abdullah late on Friday, which were dominated by policy on Iran and Syria, a source of friction between the allies, a senior US official said.

The official insisted that did not mean Obama did not share "significant concerns," merely that the conflict in Syria and Riyadh's concerns about Washington's diplomatic engagement with Teheran had left no time to discuss them.

 
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