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Obama Looks To Ease Tensions In Saudi Arabia

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MIAMI (CBSMiami0 -- President Barack Obama arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Wednesday hoping to ease tensions with the key U.S. ally.

Some are of his own making. He recently described the kingdom as "free riders" too reliant on american military might and he said the Saudis needed to "share the neighborhood" with longtime foe Iran.

The president is expected to push Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies for greater cooperation and military backing in the fight against ISIS.

The royal family is deeply skeptical of the U.S.-signed nuclear deal with Iran and has responded with a newly aggressive foreign policy including a bombing campaign against Iranian-backed rebels in neighboring Yemen.

Also straining relations: a bill pending in Congress that could make Saudi Arabia liable for damages related to the 9/11 attacks.

The kingdom vehemently denies any involvement -- though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi-born and threatened to sell off hundreds of billions of dollars in us assets if the bill passes.

Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter and biggest buyer of American-made arms.

Five U.S. Senators are calling on Obama to press the country on human rights issues and raise the cases of two imprisoned advocates during his trip.


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