Washington (Web Desk): US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis met Saudi King Salman on Wednesday, foreign media reported.

The retired four-star Marine general, accompanied by a US delegation, was welcomed by Salman at Al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh, telling the monarch: “It's good to be back.” Mattis, who commanded troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, arrived in the kingdom on Tuesday afternoon to listen to Saudi leaders and learn “what are their priorities”, an American defence official said earlier.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have a decades-old relationship based on the exchange of American security for Saudi oil. But ties between Riyadh and Washington became increasingly frayed during the administration of president Barack Obama.

Saudi leaders felt Obama was reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria and was tilting toward Riyadh's regional rival Iran.