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US’s Blinken in first phone call with Saudi counterpart | Politics News

Call comes after President Biden announced he was ending US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed “common challenges” faced by Washington and Riyadh in his first phone call with Saudi foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan, state media said on Saturday.

Bin Farhan congratulated Blinken on his appointment and said Riyadh looked forward to working with Washington, said the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The kingdom was eager to cooperate with US President Joe Biden’s administration to uphold “security and stability” in the region, it said.

Blinken and bin Farhan also discussed the “historical and strategic relations” between the two countries, the agency added.

Blinken’s first call to a Gulf state since assuming his new role was to the United Arab Emirates’s minister of foreign affairs on Thursday.

The Blinken-Bin Farhan phone call comes after Biden announced on Thursday he was ending US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, where it has been involved since 2015 to shore up the government against the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

Biden also said his administration would end all support, including connected arms sales for ally Saudi Arabia in the war that has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

He also appointed veteran diplomat Timothy Lenderking, who has wide knowledge of the region, as US special envoy for Yemen.

Counter threats

Saudi Arabia reacted to Biden’s decisions by welcoming his “commitment to cooperate with the kingdom to defend its sovereignty and counter threats against it”, SPA said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that Biden made clear the United States still supported Saudi Arabia outside the Yemen war.

He described the administration’s stance as a “return to standard procedures” in reviewing every arms deal.

In ending support for the Saudi war in Yemen, Biden was fulfilling a campaign promise to activists who have been horrified by the suffering.

The grinding six-year war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.

Yemen’s internationally-recognised government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, and the Houthis have welcomed Biden’s stance and the renewed push to end the conflict.

The US on Friday also said it intends to revoke a “terrorist” designation for Yemen’s Houthi movement in response to the country’s humanitarian crisis.



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