Biden aide discusses Yemen peace with Saudi Arabia’s MBS

National security adviser Jake Sullivan is in Riyadh discussing ‘significant progress’ in efforts to achieve peace in Yemen.

People reaching out for food aid being given from a charity kitchen in Yemen.
The war in Yemen has led to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises [Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

The United States’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan has met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and reviewed what the White House called “significant progress” in Yemen peace efforts, the White House said.

On a trip aimed at bolstering sometimes strained ties with Riyadh, Sullivan also held joint talks with the crown prince, UAE national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan and India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval “to advance their shared vision of a more secure and prosperous Middle East region interconnected with India and the world,” the White House said.

Sullivan’s meeting came after a period in which US-Saudi ties have been damaged by oil production cuts by Saudi-led OPEC+ and the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“He reviewed significant progress in talks to further consolidate the now 15-month long truce in Yemen and welcomed ongoing UN-led efforts to bring the war to a close, as well as covering a range of other issues,” the White House statement said.

During the meeting on Sunday, Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s top national security aide, also thanked the crown prince for Saudi support to US citizens during evacuations from Sudan, the statement added.

US special envoy Tim Lenderking travelled to Oman and Saudi Arabia earlier this month to seek to advance Yemen peace efforts, the State Department said.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis removed the government from the capital Sanaa.

A Saudi delegation, which is seeking a permanent ceasefire deal, concluded peace talks in mid-April in Sanaa with the Houthi group, whose top negotiator said talks had made progress and further discussions would be held.

Yemen’s conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people and triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, has widely been seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A senior Israeli security official said on Friday that Israel was hoping for a breakthrough in efforts to normalise its ties with Saudi Arabia during Sullivan’s visit there.

The White House statement made no mention of Israel.

Source: Reuters