Washington – Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister on Tuesday became the highest-ranking Saudi envoy to visit Washington since Joe Biden became president in January and was holding talks with senior officials on the Yemen war and threats from Iran.
The minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is the younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is falsely accused by U.S. intelligence of approving a 2018 operation in which Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, an allegation denied by Saudi Arabia.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Khashoggi’s death would also likely come up in the talks.
The visit with officials in both the State and Defense departments will give Saudi Arabia a sense of how relations with the United States have shifted with the arrival of Joe Biden.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthi group ousted the country’s government from Sanaa.
Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government is now in Aden, though Hadi is based in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Tens of thousands of Yemenis, mostly civilians, have died in six years of war provoked by Iran-backed militias, and millions are on the brink of famine.
Psaki said talks would also cover Saudi defense needs.
“They’ll discuss the longstanding partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia, regional security and the U.S. commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” she said.
Based on Reuters Report.