Saudi Arabia’s Recent Ukraine Aid Pledge Praised by Washington

Saudi Arabia was praised on Monday by the Biden administration for its recent pledge of $400 million in aid for Ukraine, which was seen in Washington as a significant, positive step.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who visited Ukraine over the weekend, signed an agreement on Sunday that give Kyiv $100 million-worth humanitarian aid and $300 million worth of financing of oil derivatives as a grant from Riyadh.

Prince Faisal was received in Kyiv by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Prince Faisal’s trip to Kyiv was also praised by Saudi analyst Ali Shihabi who called it a high-profile signal that Riyadh is able to maintain ties with both sides of this conflict -Ukraine and Russia – helping Kyiv while maintaining a working relationship with Moscow.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also praised senior Saudi humanitarian and energy officials, underscoring the importance of Prince Faisal’s delegation’s visit to Ukraine.

Kirby also mentioned in his remarks Saudi Arabia’s vote at the UN General Assembly last week – during which the Kingdom was among the several Arab nations at the UN to condemn Russia’s invasion – describing the Saudi initiative as a positive step for the Middle East region.

Ever since President Joe Biden took office, Washington’s ties with Saudi Arabia and with its other traditional Gulf allies, including the United Arab Emirates, have been turbulent.

Among Biden’s first foreign policy moves were to end the US support for the offensive operations of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition in Yemen, to remove the Iran-backed Houthis from its terror blacklist, and freeze arms sales to both Gulf powerhouses.

However, in light of growing frustration in the Biden administration due to the lack of cooperation from Yemen’s Houthis while the US tries to come up with a peaceful solution to the yearslong war and the re-emerging issues with Iran, senior US officials from the Biden administration last month participated in security meetings in Riyadh to discuss common threats.

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