Top Biden Aide Sullivan to Meet With Saudi Crown Prince Monday
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will meet Monday with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during a trip that makes him the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Saudi Arabia.
The meeting, confirmed by a U.S. official, comes as the U.S. pushes for a cease-fire in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling Iran-backed Houthi fighters since 2015.
The coalition intervened against the Houthis in an effort to restore Yemen’s United Nations-recognized government. The conflict’s created what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster and pushed the Yemeni population to the brink of famine.
Houthi fighters have hit Saudi Arabia’s oil installations and infrastructure in cross-border attacks throughout the conflict. While those attacks rarely claim lives they have stoked tensions in the Persian Gulf, a region key to global energy markets.
President Joe Biden’s White House has until now largely steered clear of bin Salman, who the CIA concluded in a report made public in February likely approved the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
The AP, which first reported the session with the Saudi crown prince, said Sullivan also plans to meet with deputy defense minster Khalid bin Salman, a brother to the crown prince.
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne confirmed in a statement Monday that Sullivan will travel to the United Arab Emirates as well as Saudi Arabia and “will meet with senior leaders on a range of regional and global challenges.”
Brett McGurk, the NSC’s Middle East and North Africa coordinator, and Tim Lenderking, U.S. Special envoy for Yemen, will travel with Sullivan, according to the NSC statement.
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