RIYADH: US President Barack Obama landed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to shore up ties with new King Salman and offer condolences after the death of his predecessor Abdullah.
Air Force One touched down at King Khalid International Airport in the capital Riyadh, arriving from India where Obama cut short a state visit to travel to the kingdom.
Saudi television showed Salman welcoming Obama and his wife Michelle at the bottom of a red-carpeted ramp before a military band played the US and Saudi national anthems.
In contrast to Saudi women, required to dress head-to-toe in black, Michelle Obama wore dark slacks and a blue top with her hair uncovered.
A row of stars and stripes flags flew beside Saudi Arabia’s green standards.
Salman’s heir Crown Prince Moqren and Mohammed bin Nayef, the kingdom’s powerful interior minister who is second in line to the throne, were among the officials who lined up to welcome the US delegation, television showed.
Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was also among the delegation.
The US president then boarded a black limousine for talks with Salman at a palace in the city centre.
Salman, 79, acceded to the throne after Abdullah died on Friday aged about 90.
US President Barack Obama left India for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after a three-day visit focused on improving relations between the world´s largest democracies.
As Air Force One took off from a military airport in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a farewell message on Twitter saying the visit had “taken India-USA ties to a new level & opened a new chapter”.
Obama also tweeted his thanks to Modi “for a memorable visit, and to the Indian people for their warm welcome”.
The president had been due to visit the Taj Mahal on the final day of his visit, but cut the trip short so he can pay his respects to the new Saudi king.