July 7, 2021
The Biden Administration on Tuesday hosted Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, a brother of the country’s powerful crown prince Mohammad bin Salman.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that high-level Saudi guest had meetings scheduled with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Pentagon officials. She added that the two sides would discuss “the US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend itself territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups.”
President Joe Biden had pledged to make a “pariah” of the kingdom’s crown prince during his presidential campaign over Khashoggi’s killing and other abuses, but his administration has instead emphasized U.S. strategic interests with Saudi Arabia.
The Biden administration did not publicly disclose the visit by Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, in advance.
Later the Associated Press reported that Khalid bin Salman met briefly at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Despite US overtures to Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels to reduce tensions and opt for a ceasefire, they have continued missile and drone attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia.