U.S. ‘Recalibrates’ Relationship with Saudi Arabia, Will Communicate with Saudi King, Not Crown Prince

The United States will “recalibrate” its relationship with Saudi Arabia, but would engage with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud instead of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

“We’ve made clear from the beginning that we are going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Psaki said during a daily news briefing on Feb. 16.

Psaki said that the engagement with the Middle Eastern country would be “counterpart to counterpart.”

“The president’s counterpart is King Salman and I expect at an appropriate time, he will have a conversation with him. I don’t have a prediction on the timeline for that,” Psaki said, indicating a different approach from the previous administration that supported bin Salman.

During the Trump administration, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner kept a steady contact with the crown prince, who is the heir to the throne of the 85-year-old king.

Psaki also said that Saudi Arabia has “critical self-defense needs” and faces threats from the region.

“We will continue to work with them on those, even as we make clear areas where we have disagreements and where we have concerns,” Psaki said.

Earlier this month, Biden had announced that the U.S. will end its support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations in Yemen due to the conflict creating a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe, though Biden had said that the U.S. will “continue to help and support Saudi Arabia.”

Sources said that the Biden administration has also halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

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