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23

Saudi Aramco To Make Peace With America

Saudi Arabian oil firm Aramco will hold a meeting in Houston in acknowledgement of an improvement of the U.S.-Saudi relations

The board of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, will hold a meeting in Houston in acknowledgement of an improvement of the U.S.-Saudi relations. Thus they intend to revive an annual tradition that had been suspended the last two years.

Aramco board (which was originally Arabian-American Oil Co.), had until recently met once a year in Houston. But the company canceled the U.S. meeting in 2004 because of difficulties obtaining visas and in 2003 because of the Iraq War, placing both meetings in Europe.

However, the visa problems have persisted, and Aramco officials have warned of the possibility of broader drift between the two countries. As a result, U.S. energy companies fear they could lose deals to European companies or to state-owned companies from China and other developing countries.

Earlier, Saudi Prince Abdullah raised this point during his visit to George W. Bush last month, whrere they announced a high-level joint committee led by the Saudi foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state to work on issues of "strategic issues of vital importance to the two countries."