Washington (AP) — President Joe BidenUS National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the US tries to build pressure. Ceasefire Years of war between the kingdom and Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Sullivan will be the highest-ranking official in the Biden administration when he visits Saudi Arabia. According to two senior administration officials, in addition to seeing the Crown Prince, who is often referred to by his initials, MBS, Sullivan is expected to meet Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, who is the Crown Prince’s brother. Officials were not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Biden has largely shrugged off the White House crown prince since a CIA report was made public in February MBS probably sanctioned murder Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi In operation in 2018 at the Consulate of the State in Istanbul.
But the White House has resolved that perhaps ending the world’s most complex conflict cannot be accomplished without one-on-one talks with the most senior Saudi officials, a senior administration official said.
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said Sullivan was traveling to Riyadh on Monday and would also visit the United Arab Emirates, Saudi ally in the war, but did not provide additional details. The Axios were the first to report that Sullivan was planning to visit the region.
Sullivan is being deported at a time when the situation has worsened in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world. the fight has intensified Major City of Maribo, as Iran-backed rebels have sought to overthrow the Saudi-backed government from the oil-rich city in the country’s north.
International efforts to end the war have been fruitless. US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking called on the Houthis in July to continue “for refusing to engage meaningfully on a ceasefire and political dialogue”. Saudi Arabia proposed a ceasefire to Yemen’s Houthi rebels earlier this year as it seeks to re-establish its image with the Biden administration.
The new UN special envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg recently announced that the country is “Stuck in a state of indefinite war” And restarting talks to end the conflict that has been going on for more than six years will not be easy.
of Yemen The war began in September 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthis seized Sanaa and began a march south to try to seize the entire country. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and other countries, entered the war with Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
The US sold bombs and fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, which Saudi Arabia later used in an attack on Yemen, which also killed civilians. In 2015 the Obama administration initially offered US targeting aid for Saudi Arabia’s command-and-control operations, which were supposed to reduce civilian casualties in airstrikes. That didn’t happen, and Obama eventually cut the program.
Under President Donald Trump, targeting of aid continued, although his administration subsequently halted US refueling operations for Saudi jets.
Biden announced weeks into his administration that he was ending “all US support, including arms sales relevant to offensive operations in the war in Yemen.” But little progress has been made on the ground in solving what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
White House officials hope Grundberg’s appointment will bring a new dynamism and pressure all sides to end the conflict, according to two senior administration officials.
Sullivan is being joined by NSC Senior Director for LenderKing and Middle East Brett McGurk for talks with Saudi and UAE. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin He had planned to travel to Saudi Arabia earlier this month while he was in the region, but it was postponed because of what the administration said.
The high-level White House push comes after Lenderking visited Saudi Arabia and Oman, which has pressed for an end to the war. with this, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had talks with their counterpart members of the Gulf Cooperation Council on the margins of United Nations General Assembly.
Sullivan’s visit to Saudi Arabia is also taking place as the administration looks for ways to revive Iran nuclear deal. The Saudis and the UAE strongly oppose returning to the deal with Iran that was originally brokered by the Obama administration in 2015 only to be terminated by Trump in 2018.
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Friday, Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdullah said the country would return to nuclear talks in Vienna “very soon”. But he accused the Biden administration of sending a contradictory message, saying it wants to renegotiate the deal while imposing new sanctions on Tehran and is not taking “a tiny bit of affirmative action”.
Biden and his team have made the return of the US to the deal – with Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran as signatories – one of their top foreign policy priorities. But the US has made limited progress in indirect negotiations, and Tehran has called for a “longer and stronger” deal than Biden administration officials’ original deal, which expires at the end of 2030.