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Saudi prince in U.S. for talks on regional security, Khashoggi, Iran

Prince Khalid bin Salman, who is Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister, visited the US to discuss the importance of coordinating efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East.

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Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman is in the US to meet Biden administration officials, the White House said Tuesday.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is among the officials to meet the deputy defense minister, who is the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki at a news conference.

Psaki said the Saudi official and US officials will discuss the partnership between the US and Saudi Arabia, regional security, and the “US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups.”

Officials will also discuss the death of Jamal Khashoggi, she said.

Read more: Jamal Khashoggi’s killing took seven minutes, Turkish source tells MEE

On Tuesday evening, Emily Horne, the spokeswoman for National Security Council, confirmed in a statement that Sullivan met with the Saudi deputy defense minister and the two discussed “the importance of coordinating efforts to ensure a strong global economic recovery, to advance the climate agenda, and to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East.”

“Mr. Sullivan emphasized the importance of progress in advancing human rights in the Kingdom. They agreed to stay in touch regularly over the coming months on these and other issues,” said Horne.

Read more: G20 summit: Saudi Arabia under pressure to address human rights issues

The first visit?

The visit from a Saudi Arabian official is the first after a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) under President Joe Biden’s administration said in February that the crown prince approved the killing of Khashoggi.

It said the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto leader, “approved an operation…to capture or kill” him.

Khashoggi was brutally murdered and likely dismembered after being lured by Saudi officials to their consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. While Riyadh initially denied any role in his death, it later sought to pin the blame on what it said was a botched rendition operation.

That explanation has been widely rejected.

Read more: US trained Saudis who killed journalist Khashoggi

Anadolu with additional input from GVS

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