JEDDAH- Many thanks to Finance Minister Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al
Assaf for meeting today.
We have met several times in the last two years in
Washington and around the world, and I am very appreciative of the opportunity
to continue our dialogue here in Saudi Arabia.
During our meeting this morning, I expressed the United
States’ confidence in our partnership, noted my appreciation for our close
collaboration in addressing illicit finance threats, and reiterated the
importance of economic cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
That close cooperation is even more important given our
shared concerns about developments in Iraq. In our meeting, we discussed
the need for Iraqi leaders to put aside differences and implement a coordinated
and effective approach to confront terrorist groups such as the Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The events in Iraq also underscore the importance more
broadly of redoubling our efforts to combat the financing of terrorist
Saudi Arabia has been among our most important partners
in combating terrorist financing, and we discussed how we can further enhance
our cooperation – not just against groups operating in Iraq and Syria but also
groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, such as the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e
Tayyiba, and transnational groups such as Hizballah.
Today I had the opportunity to reinforce our commitment
to working together to combat these threats and to highlight the strong
cooperation we enjoy with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the Ministry’s
Financial Investigation Unit, and the Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency in achieving
our mutual goals.
We also continue to work closely with Saudi Arabian
authorities as they enhance financial transparency through improvement of their
anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing controls.
Today we reviewed the outlook for the United States, the
region, and the global economy.
In the United States, economic conditions have continued
to improve substantially, with our economy in its fifth year of recovery and
our private sector creating over 1 million jobs in 2014 alone.
Saudi Arabia plays a key role in the global economy, as the
largest Gulf economy and the world’s largest oil producer, and we discussed the
efforts that the Kingdom has undertaken to diversify its own economy.
Our trade and investment partnership has lasted many
years and represents a critical facet of our relationship.
For the past 25 years, the United States has imported
more goods from the Kingdom than from any other Gulf country, and Saudi Arabia
is a major export market for the United States in the region. We plan to
further deepen our economic cooperation and engagement.
We also discussed our coordinated efforts to promote
growth and financial stability within the Middle East and North Africa
We recognize the benefit of working together to meet the
challenges of supporting macroeconomic stability in countries in
We also support the progress that Saudi Arabia has made
in providing essential bilateral assistance to Arab countries in transition,
especially to Egypt and Yemen.
We commend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its role in
the global economy and its support to the Arab countries in transition. Saudi
Arabia and the United States have had a strategic partnership that has lasted
for decades and we look forward to continuing to expand our economic
cooperation to confront a range of global and economic issues.