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Obama Leading a High-Powered Delegation to Saudi Arabia

A bipartisan group of prominent current and former officials will join the president as he offers his condolences on the death of King Abdullah.

NEW DELHI — President Obama left here on Tuesday after a three-day visit to India and headed to Saudi Arabia, where he and a bipartisan delegation of prominent current and former officials will offer condolences for the death of King Abdullah and pay respects to his successor.

Joining the president will be his Republican opponent from 2008, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and several veterans of past Republican administrations, including two former secretaries of state, James A. Baker III and Condoleezza Rice, and two former national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft and Stephen J. Hadley.

Also meeting up with Mr. Obama in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, will be senior figures from his own administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry; John O. Brennan, the director of the C.I.A.; and Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, the military unit that oversees Middle East operations.

“It will be a chance for us to make sure that we’re in good alignment going forward where we have overlapping interest,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to Mr. Obama. “I think you saw the king send a signal that he’s committed to continuity in terms of Saudi Arabia’s approach to those issues. But again, I think we’re well placed to continue cooperation.”

Ben Hubbard contributed reporting from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Source: The New York Times (1551 Articles)
Written by Peter Baker