RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- World leaders, including President Barack Obama and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, are traveling to Saudi Arabia in the coming days to meet newly appointed King Salman and pay respects to the family of King Abdullah, who died earlier this week.
Obama will cut short his three-day visit to India to visit the Saudi capital city, underscoring the country's important role in the oil market and the fight against Islamic extremists. Vice President Joe Biden was originally expected to lead a U.S. delegation to the country.
At the same time, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was seen on Saudi state television arriving in Riyadh on a rare visit to the country to participate in a memorial ceremony for Abdullah. Zarif arrived at the Sunni-ruled country and was given a red carpet greeting by the late king's son.
The two countries have been at odds in recent years over the Syrian civil war. Iran has backed the Syrian president, while Saudi Arabia supports the Sunni rebels.