Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama will travel to the United Kingdom & Saudi Arabia in April, a visit set to be dominated by doubts over Britain's EU membership & concerns approximately turmoil in the Middle East.
The White House said Obama will visit Windsor Castle — where he will have a private lunch with Queen Elizabeth II — & 10 Downing Street for a joint press conference with Prime Minister David Cameron.
His visit comes ahead of Britain's hotly contested June referendum on European Union membership.
p>Obama is likely to express his strong backing for keeping Britain in the EU, yet will have to rebuff allegations of interference.
London's loquacious mayor Boris Johnson — a chief proponent of leaving the bloc — has accused Obama of "exorbitant hypocrisy" given America's "hysterical vigilance" approximately its own sovereignty.
In Saudi Arabia, Obama will attend a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, were Washington's policies toward the Middle East are likely to come under the microscope.
Uneasy partners in the Gulf have been furious at Obama's engagement with Iran & perceived retreat from the Middle East.
A senior Saudi royal has publicly criticized Obama for comments accusing the longtime US ally of feeding Middle East conflicts.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has long been a major ally of the United States yet the relationship has deteriorated under Obama.
In an opinion piece published in Saudi newspapers, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the kingdom's former intelligence chief & envoy to Washington, lashed out at Obama's recent comments to The Atlantic magazine.
"You accuse us of fomenting sectarian strife in Syria, Yemen & Iraq. You add insult to injury by telling us to share our world with Iran, a country that you describe as a supporter of terrorism," Faisal wrote.
Faisal questioned whether Obama has "pivoted to Iran so much that you equate the kingdom's 80 years of constant friendship with America to an Iranian leadership that continues to describe America as the biggest enemy, that continues to arm, fund & support sectarian militias in the Arab & Muslim world".
Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Shiite Iran of interference in Arab affairs, particularly in Yemen, Syria, Iraq & Bahrain.
During the visit Obama will moreover visit Germany, and, according to the White House attend "Hannover Messe – the world's largest trade show for industrial technology – & meet Chancellor Angela Merkel."
Foreign PolicyPolitics & GovernmentBarack ObamaSaudi ArabiaWhite House