U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Saudi Arabia on June 3 for talks on Iran's nuclear program and Washington's renewed push for a Middle East peace plan, the White House said on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is a staunch U.S. ally in the region and has been a key player in the drive for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which Obama has declared a top foreign policy priority.
The visit will come at the start of a trip by Obama that will also take him to Europe and Egypt, where he is scheduled to give a major speech to the Muslim world.
"The president will meet with his majesty King Abdullah to discuss a range of important issues, including Middle East peace, Iran and terrorism," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
"The president believes it's a chance to discuss a lot of important business and he thought it was a good opportunity to do that," he said.
The visit comes at a time when Obama is seeking to build an alliance of Muslim nations to pressure Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, which Washington fears is a cover to build a nuclear bomb.
After the meeting with King Abdullah, Obama will make a long-awaited address to Muslims in Egypt on June 4, accelerating his bid to mend the U.S. image in the Islamic world.
White House officials said the speech, fulfilling an Obama campaign promise, would focus on how Americans and Muslims abroad can secure the "safety and security" of their children in a more hopeful future.