ROME (AP) — President Barack Obama is leaving the European continent, shifting his attention from an Eastern European power play by Russia to the complicated religious and tribal politics of the Middle East.

After four days spread across European capitals in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, Obama is off to Saudi Arabia on Friday. He wants to reassure Arab allies that despite troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, greater energy independence back home and nuclear talks with predominantly Persian Iran, the United States is not abandoning the Arab world.

Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia has only two items on its public schedule: a meeting and a dinner with King Abdullah at his desert camp, which is a 30-minute helicopter ride from the Saudi capital of Riyadh (rih-YAHD').