Senior White House officials are expected to visit Saudi Arabia in the upcoming months to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to discuss ways of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
First up will be National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who plans to meet his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and India in the Kingdom next week, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified, discussing a trip that hasn’t been publicly disclosed. Sullivan will also meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The visit aims to boost normalise ties between the Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.
After that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to visit Saudi Arabia in June for a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the people said.
Other top diplomats are planning separate trips to Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks, in a new sign of the US administration’s determination to strengthen ties with its historic ally.
The consecutive trips by high-level US officials came after Saudi Arabia started strengthening relations with US adversaries, including China and Iran. This highlights that the administration is determined to get past the frostiness that has defined relations between Washington and Riyadh.
As a candidate, Biden had said he would treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah,” following the journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A few months later, Biden’s deception was exposed. No direct punishment was imposed on MBS, although a US intelligence report confirmed his involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
In contrast, Biden’s administration doubled its cooperation with its Saudi counterpart in total disregard for the plight of hundreds of political prisoners in Saudi jails, including US nationals and relatives of US nationals.