May 17, 2022 - World

Saudi deputy defense minister in D.C. for high-level meetings

Prince Khalid bin Salman (R) with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2020. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Getty

Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman is visiting Washington this week for security talks with senior White House and Pentagon officials, two U.S. officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The U.S. is trying to improve relations with Saudi Arabia as it pushes the kingdom to increase its oil output, and ahead President Biden's upcoming visit to the Middle East toward end of June.

The latest: Prince Khalid met Tuesday with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who "reaffirmed President Biden's commitment to held Saudi Arabia defend itself, and expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia's leadership in securing a UN-brokered truce in Yemen," per a White House readout.

  • Prince Khalid also tweeted a photo with Sullivan. Ahead of the meeting, a National Security Council spokesperson also said they would be discussing Russia and Ukraine.
  • Prince Khalid is in Washington to lead the Saudi delegation to the U.S.-Saudi Strategic Joint Planning Committee.

Flashback: Prince Khalid, who is the younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was the Saudi ambassador to Washington when Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in 2018.

  • He left the post several months later in the aftermath of the killing, and was appointed deputy minister of defense.
  • He previously visited Washington in July 2021 to meet senior White House officials.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the meeting with Jake Sullivan.

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