Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Jeddah during his official visit to Saudi Arabia.
The official Saudi Arabia termed their conversation, characterized as candid and broad, and covered many bilateral and regional matters.
Blinken’s arrival in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday marks the beginning of a three-day official visit, occurring during strained relations between the two nations due to growing disagreements on topics such as Iran’s policies and regional security.
As quoted by AFP, a US official confirmed that the discussion was open and encompassed a broad spectrum of bilateral and regional issues. Following the meeting, the US State Department released a statement in which Blinken commended Saudi Arabia for its leadership in hosting the Daesh/Ministerial and emphasized the ongoing joint efforts to combat terrorism.
The statement further highlighted that Blinken and MBS reiterated their mutual commitment to enhancing stability, security, and prosperity throughout the Middle East and beyond. This includes working towards a comprehensive political agreement to bring Yemen peace, prosperity, and security.
Moreover, Blinken underscored that progress in human rights strengthens the bilateral relationship. The two dignitaries also explored opportunities for deepening economic cooperation, specifically within clean energy and technology. Blinken expressed gratitude towards the Crown Prince for Saudi Arabia’s support in evacuating several hundred US citizens from Sudan and praised the Kingdom’s continuing collaboration in diplomatic negotiations to halt the conflict there.
Blinken’s visit aims to strengthen ties with Saudi Arabia, a long-standing ally, which has recently been establishing closer relations with competitors of Washington. The focus of the visit will also extend to the joint struggle against the Daesh terrorist group and the relationship between the Arab world and Israel.
During the 100-minute meeting, the two men discussed Saudi Arabia’s aid in US evacuations from Sudan, the necessity for political dialogue in Yemen, and the potential for normalizing relations with Israel. Blinken stated on social media that they discussed “our shared priorities, including countering terrorism through the D-ISIS Coalition, achieving peace in Yemen, and deepening economic and scientific cooperation.”
Following the announcement of renewed relations with Iran in March, Saudi Arabia has reestablished ties with Syria, an ally of Tehran, and intensified efforts for peace in Yemen, where it has led a military coalition against the Iran-supported Huthi rebels for years. Saudi Arabia and Iran, two regional powerhouses, have conflicted for years, supporting different factions in numerous disputes across the unstable region.