National Security

Saudi deputy defense minister meeting with Biden officials

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan
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Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is meeting with top Biden administration officials including national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed plans for the meeting, which will also include State Department and Pentagon officials. Prince Khalid is not expected to meet with President Biden.

“During the meeting, 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,” Psaki told reporters at an afternoon press briefing. 

Psaki added that the report on the killing of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi could be a topic at the meeting but declined to discuss further details.

The U.S. intelligence community released the report in February, publicly accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of approving a 2018 operation to “capture or kill” Khashoggi. Prince Khalid is the crown prince’s younger brother.

The Wall Street Journal first reported plans for the meeting between Prince Khalid and Biden administration officials this week in Washington. 

The White House has diverged from the friendly relationship that former President Trump cultivated with Saudi Arabia. Biden has raised concerns about Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, including by releasing the report in February and imposing sanctions on a former Saudi official and Saudi Arabia’s Rapid Intervention Force. 

The Biden administration did not target Prince Mohammed directly with sanctions, which prompted some criticism. Still, the report has complicated the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently met with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Italy.

Tags Antony Blinken Donald Trump Jake Sullivan Jen Psaki Joe Biden

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