US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will focus on the Yemen war during his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, the White House said Tuesday.
Sullivan is in the region, and he met with officials in the UAE on Tuesday, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
Sullivan met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s national security advisor, with discussions touching on bilateral ties.
“They also exchanged views on regional developments and collaboration towards promoting peace and stability in the region,” WAM reported.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Sullivan’s engagements would be focused on Yemen during his trip to Saudi Arabia.
But a senior US official said late Tuesday that the meeting had already taken place.
Sullivan thanked the Saudis for helping evacuate Afghans during the US withdrawal last month and for their efforts to support peace in Iraq, a senior US official told Bloomberg.
The official also said that Sullivan thanked the Crown Prince for Riyadh’s help in evacuating Afghans during what many have criticized as a botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Sullivan voiced appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s efforts to support peace in Iraq, as per the report.
Sullivan is the most senior Biden administration official to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
His trip to Saudi Arabia comes at a time when bilateral ties between Washington and Riyadh have soured as a result of Biden’s efforts to “recalibrate” the relationship since taking office.
Sullivan is also expected to visit other countries, including Egypt, but the White House has not made any other announcements.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was scheduled to make a trip to the Kingdom while on a tour of the region this month. However, his trip was postponed at the last minute due to what Washington said were “scheduling” issues.
Earlier this month, the State Department approved the sale of $500 million in equipment to Saudi Arabia, which includes maintenance support services for helicopters, including Saudi Arabia’s Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, as well as a future fleet of CH-47D Chinook helicopters.
In July, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman met with Sullivan and other senior Biden administration officials in Washington, including Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Miller.