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Top US Official, Jake Sullivan, in Saudi Arabia to Meet With MBS

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to discuss the Gaza crisis and the efforts to prevent a wider war in the region, two U.S. officials said.

U.S. officials see Saudi Arabia as key to preventing the Gaza crisis from expanding further into the region and as a major partner in any strategy for what comes next.

  • President Biden said on Tuesday that after the war he wants to resume his effort to get a mega-deal between the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, but stressed it will have to take place in the context of going back to the vision of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • “Saudi Arabia wants to normalize relations (with Israel)… we have an opportunity to begin to unite the region and they still want to do it.  But we have to make sure that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] understands that he’s got to make some moves to strengthen the Palestinian authority.  You cannot say there’s no Palestinian state at all in the future,” Biden said.

A U.S. official said Sullivan traveled to Saudi Arabia to discuss broader diplomatic efforts by the Biden administration to maintain stability across the region and prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from expanding.

  • One of the issues Sullivan wanted to discuss in Saudi Arabia is the efforts to deter ongoing Houthi attacks from Yemen against international commercial vessels in the Red Sea, the U.S. official said.
  • He added that Sullivan also planned to discuss how to build on the U.S.-Saudi talks regarding the mega-deal that took place before the war in order to make progress towards a sustainable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Sullivan is expected to visit Israel on Thursday and meet with Netanyahu and his war cabinet to discuss the war in Gaza.



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