Smiles and compliments as Obama begins rebuilding bridges with Saudi Arabia

Barack Obama opened a brief trip to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with a one-on-one meeting with King Salman. The pair exchanged pleasantries under the crystal chandeliers of the grand foyer at Erga Palace in Riyadh as they began rebuilding a relationship strained by America’s nuclear deal with Iran. They smiled politely at each other as they sat down side by side for pictures at the start of their private meeting. "The American people send their greetings and we are very grateful for your hospitality,“ said Mr Obama, who is on his fourth visit to the kingdom.

The feeling is mutual between us and the American people

King Salman

As well as the battle against Islamic State, the White House said the president would be discussing the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, as well as counter-terrorism in general. On Thursday, Mr Obama will attend a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He will spend less than 24 hours in Riyadh, before travelling on to London and Hanover.  In Germany, he will meet European leaders to discuss Islamic State, Libya and the migration crisis.