It was announced that Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman arrived in the United States to come together with officials of the Biden administration. The White House confirmed the Saudi official’s visit through a statement issued on Tuesday.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at a news conference that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is among the officials that the Saudi Deputy Minister Khalid bin Salman, the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will hold official talks with.
In her statement, Psaki stressed that the issues regarding the cooperation between the two states, as well as regional security, would be handled during the series of meetings. She also highlighted that the “US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups” would also be discussed.
Psaki added that another topic that is expected to be into question is the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Following the meeting between Jake Sullivan and Khalid bin Salman, Emily Horne, the spokesperson for National Security Council, issued a statement indicating that the two officials discussed “the importance of coordinating efforts to ensure a strong global economic recovery, to advance the climate agenda, and to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East.”
Stressing that Sullivan underlined the importance that the US gives to progress in promoting human rights in the Kingdom during the meeting, Horne added that the two officials agreed to keep in touch regularly over the upcoming period on these and other issues.
Khalid bin Salman’s visit came as the first of its kind since the Biden administration publicized the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which approves the involvement of the Saudi Crown Prince in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The report indicated that the Kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed, “approved an operation… to capture or kill” Khashoggi. While the accusations had been initially denied by Riyadh, it later launched ostensible investigations, attempting to vindicate the Crown Prince, and sentenced several officials who were involved in the operation to death.