Top White House aide to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s top national security aide will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week, the White House said on Sunday, as popular unrest continues to unsettle the region.

Obama’s national security adviser Tom Donilon will meet with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh and in Abu Dhabi he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan in a visit from April 11 to April 13.

“The national security advisor’s visit underscores the importance of our relationship with these two key partners,” the White House said in a statement.

Arab leaders allied to the United States have questioned its backing of pro-democracy movements, which have swept rulers from power in Egypt and Tunisia and continue to challenge other governments, including Saudi Arabia’s neighbor Bahrain.

The United States is also part of a United Nations and Arab League-backed military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to protect Libyan civilians after a popular uprising to end his 41-year rule.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Eric Beech)

Top White House aide to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE