|Riyadh to shift away from U.S.: Saudi spy chief||
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a "major shift" in relations with the United States in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.
According to Reuters, Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syria crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.
"The shift away from the U.S. is a major one," the source close to Saudi policy said. "Saudi doesn't want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent."
"Prince Bandar told diplomats that he plans to limit interaction with the U.S.," the source close to Saudi policy said. "This happens after the U.S. failed to take any effective action on Syria and Palestine.
"Relations with the U.S. have been deteriorating for a while, as Saudi feels that the U.S. is growing closer with Iran and the U.S. also failed to support Saudi during the Bahrain uprising."
The source declined to provide more details of Bandar's talks with the diplomats, which took place in the past few days.
The prince's initiative follows a surprise Saudi decision on Friday to reject a coveted two-year term on the U.N. Security Council in protest at "double standards" at the United Nations.
Prince Bandar, who was Saudi ambassador to Washington for 22 years, is seen as a foreign policy hawk, especially on Iran.
A son of the late defense minister and crown prince, Prince Sultan, and a protégé of the late King Fahd, he fell from favor with King Abdullah after clashing on foreign policy in 2005. But he was called in from the cold last year with a mandate to bring down President Bashar al-Assad. Over the past year he has led Saudi efforts to bring arms and other aid to Syrian rebels while his cousin, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, worked the diplomatic corridors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought on Monday to calm rising tensions with Saudi Arabia, which has spurned a UN Security Council seat in fury at inaction over the crisis in Syria.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal hosted a lunch for Kerry at his private residence in Paris on Monday. A senior State Department official told reporters after the lunch that Kerry cited the advantages of being on the 15-member body, which can authorize military action, impose sanctions and set up peacekeeping operations.
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