US President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will meet with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his regional trip to the Saudi Arabia and UAE, to reportedly discuss the civil war in Yemen, The Hill reports.
The White House National Security Council’s spokeswoman Emily Horne announced on Monday that Sullivan, the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Saudi Arabia, will be traveling to the Middle East along with the US special envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking and with Brett McGurk, the NSC’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator.
Sullivan will travel to Riyadh on Monday and then travel to the United Arab Emirates.
Horne added in the statement that Sullivan will also meet with other senior leaders on a range of regional and global challenges, including, according to unnamed sources, the Saudi deputy defence minister Khalid bin Salman, a brother to the crown prince.
The situation in war-torn Yemen where the seven years of fighting have plunged the nation into an economic crisis and have triggered food shortages, according to the United Nations, is probably the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
Both the US and Saudi Arabia have pledged millions of dollars in additional aid for Yemen, as have other countries.
As the US tries to presses for a cease-fire in the yearslong war between the kingdom-led military coalition and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, one of the issues Sullivan is to discuss with Prince Salman will be a potential ceasefire between Saudi Arabia and Houthis.
Soon after taking office in January, Biden announced he would be ending the offensive operations in the Yemen war, including relevant arms sales, though both of his predecessors in the White House offered military support to Saudi Arabia in its war against the Houthi rebels.
He has taken a tougher stance with the Kingdom than his predecessor Trump, criticizing Saudi Arabia over its human rights record and his administration has largely avoided interacting with the Prince Salman since the publicly released CIA report earlier this year implicated him in the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi
The Saudi crown prince has denied any involvement in the case.
The Kingdom has also repeated its denial with regard to the alleged involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States after FBI released earlier this month, following an executive order by Biden, a newly declassified document about its investigation pointing to Saudi government support for the hijackers.