The President has gone to Saudi Arabia at an interesting time, former Defense Secretary William Cohen told CNBC on Wednesday.
Cohen's comments come as President Barack Obama met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday amid tensions regarding a proposed bill in Congress, which could make the Saudi government vulnerable to civil lawsuits. The president visits the Kingdom ahead of 2016's Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, where Cohen considers gulf leaders will have an opportunity to "lay out some of their complaints."
Saudi Arabia, a member of the GCC, has many concerns of its own, the former official said during an interview with "Closing Bell." Among these are: U.S.-Iranian relations and the nuclear deal, what the Saudis consider a lack of reaction from the U.S. to ISIL, intervention in Yemen, oil and of course, the bill at Congress, he said.
The White House reported on Wednesday that the two leaders, President Obama and the King, discussed accelerating campaigns against ISIL, hostilities in Yemen, the stabilization of certain Iraqi areas and "the challenges posed by Iran's provocative activities in the region," among other mutual concerns. The report did not say if the countries discussed the 9/11 bill proposed in Congress.