Blinken makes call to Saudi counterpart

Riyadh keen to cooperate with U.S. to uphold ‘stability’ in the region: Minister

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken 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.

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

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

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

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

Mr. Biden also said his administration would end all support, including arms sales for Saudi Arabia in the war that has brought impoverished Yemen to its knees.

He also appointed veteran diplomat Timothy Lenderking as U.S. special envoy for Yemen.

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

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