US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in Jeddah. Photo: Antony Blinken
June 7 (UPI) — Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday in Jeddah, where the leaders agreed to work together to renew efforts to combat terrorism in the Middle East.
Blinken planned to be in Saudi Arabia until Thursday to forge strategic cooperation on regional and global issues, including coordinating economic and security efforts, the State Department said. said
Blinken, meanwhile, used the meeting to press bin Salman for more progress on human rights, as relations between the longtime allies have soured in recent years over rising humanitarian abuses by the Saudi government.
Washington has sought to get bin Salman to make more significant humanitarian commitments that would ultimately help bolster diplomacy, a State Department spokesman said. Matthew Miller said in a statement.
The leaders agreed on a separate comprehensive action plan to restore political stability in Yemen.
The Secretary emphasized the growing economic cooperation between the United States and the government of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the areas of clean energy and new technologies.
Blinken’s visit comes one day after Saudi Arabia announced plans to cut oil output by a million barrels a day in July as oil-producing nations agreed to keep oil levels lower until 2024. the end
The meeting also comes as the US PGA Tour and Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf agree to a stunning merger valued at more than $600 billion.
Blinken also thanked the Saudi leadership for the recent conference on the fight against ISIS, and the two leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to strengthening stability in the region, adding that all current joint efforts will remain intact.
The secretary praised Saudi Arabia’s support in evacuating hundreds of US citizens from Sudan, where two rival military groups have been waging a bloody war for control of the country since April.
On Wednesday, Blinken was scheduled to join a meeting of the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss new stability efforts and how the actions will boost economic opportunities in the Middle East.
The secretary will next travel to Riyadh on Thursday to co-host a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. There, Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan will highlight the coalition’s critical role in addressing the continuing threat of terrorism, the State Department said.
Blinken’s meeting with bin Salman comes months after the crown prince was granted immunity from a US civil lawsuit accusing him of ordering the killing of a Washington Post journalist in 2018. Jamal Khashoggi.
Last year, the 37-year-old royal heir was named the country’s prime minister, the country’s highest post, effectively shielding the prince from any prosecution for Khashoggi’s killing due to the sovereign immunity rule in the United States.
But President Joe Biden said he brought up Khashoggi during a working session last summer with bin Salman at the Al Salam royal palace in Jeddah, telling the crown prince he believed he was personally responsible for the killing.
“I made my point clear,” Biden said at the time. “I said very directly, to the President of America. Being silent on the issue of human rights is incompatible… with who we are and who I am. What happened with Khashoggi was outrageous.”
The Saudi regime has also come under fire for its escalating crackdown on government opponents, according to exiled Saudi political activists.
In one high-profile case, Salma al-Shehab – a Saudi PhD student on break from the University of Leeds in Britain – was sentenced to 34 years in prison last August after being arrested for sharing social media posts of prominent political dissidents.