Blinken in Saudi Arabia to rebuild strained ties with US

June 07, 2023

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on a trip to strengthen strained ties with the long-time ally as the oil-rich kingdom forges closer relations with Washington´s rivals. Blinken´s three-day visit will also focus on efforts to end conflicts in Sudan and Yemen, the joint battle against the Islamic State group (IS) and the Arab world´s relations with Israel.


His trip comes at a time of quickly shifting alliances in the Middle East, centred around a China-brokered rapprochement in March between regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran. Another landmark change saw Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad invited back to the Arab League last month for the first time since the start of the 12-year civil war in which his government has been backed by Russia and Iran.

“There is just a tremendous amount of work that we´re trying to do,” a US State Department senior official dealing with Arabian Peninsula affairs, Daniel Benaim, said before Blinken´s trip. “We´re focused on an affirmative agenda here and the great deal of work our countries can do together.”

Blinken landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Tuesday evening and is expected to meet Saudi Arabia´s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a US official, before heading to Riyadh Wednesday for a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting.