RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Secretary of State John Kerry and his Saudi counterpart, Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, strongly denied any significant breach of the US-Saudi relationship Monday, while acknowledging differences on tactics, particularly over Syria.
Although he emphasized US commitment to a negotiated settlement in Syria, Kerry said at a news conference with Faisal that the United States will ‘‘continue to support the opposition’’ fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.
‘‘We will not stand idly by while Assad continues to use weapons enormously disproportionate to those in the possession of the opposition in order to kill . . . women and children,’’ Kerry said.
Faisal did not respond to a question asking about Saudi arms supplies to the rebels. But he called Syria ‘‘the largest calamity that has befallen the world in the present millennium.’’ If that is not ‘‘a reason to intervene, to stop the bloodshed, I don’t know what is.’’
Faisal continued: ‘‘If one is [making a] moral choice to intervene or not to intervene, what is that choice going to be? Do I let the tragedy continue, or do I help if I can?’’
Not only are scores of thousands of people being killed, Faisal said, but Syria’s rich cultural heritage is being destroyed.
Kerry also met with Saudi King Abdullah II. Kerry said before the visit that he wanted to ‘‘make sure that the Saudi Arabian-US relationship is on track,’’ despite deep differences over high-profile policy issues in the region, including Syria, Iran, and Egypt.