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Mitchell: ‘No Other Way’ To Interpret Saudi Actions Aside From a Snub

NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell stated that “there’s no other way to interpret” Saudi Arabia skipping out on a summit of Arab leaders at Camp David other than as a snub to the US on Monday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

Mitchell remarked, “Saudi Arabia’s king, Salman is the man who’s not coming to dinner. America’s most important Arab ally has pulled out of a Camp David summit on Iran to be held later this week. President Obama called the meeting to address concerns of Arab leaders over a potential nuclear deal with their neighbor Iran. Only two of the six Gulf states who were invited are going to be there.”

She continued, “The White House trying to claim this is not a snub. Certainly, the Saudis are saying it’s not a snub, but there’s no other way to interpret it.”

AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace said, “It’s a really confusing situation. Because on Friday, you had the White House actually announcing that the king was coming, not just for the summit, but also for a bilateral meeting with the president on Wednesday. They announced that on Friday, and then on Sunday, we hear from the Saudis that the king actually is not coming. So, it’s hard to really understand how the White House could get confused on this, how they could have gotten wrong information about the king’s plans, but they say this is not a matter of substance, that there are Saudi officials that are coming who have good relations with the White House, and will be represented. But it just adds to this impression this summit just isn’t going to have the gravitas and the significance that the president would hope.”

Pace added, “it’s not as though these countries aren’t sending people who are real players, and in some times, really the officials that are running policy in these countries. But look at the optics of this. The president, first of all, is bringing these leaders to Camp David, it’s the presidential retreat. He rarely goes up there, he rarely holds meetings. So, there was significance around the setting, first of all. And some of this was simply the optics of having the president standing side by side with Gulf leaders, sending that message, in that picture to Iran, to other countries in the — other actors in the region that the US would have these countries’ backs. Now, he’s really not going to have that moment.”

Pace concluded, “Bilateral meetings are not announced from the White House unless all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. So, the fact the White House would announce that the bilateral meeting was happening. Then officials say they — this happened on Friday, and then officials say Friday night they started to hear from the Saudis that maybe the king wouldn’t come. So, it’s a huge unanswered question about how this happened, whether it was simply miscommunication, or whether there was a change in Saudi thinking and a decision to snub the White House.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

 

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