A distinguished US official expressed her country's strong and enduring bond with Saudi Arabia, thanking the Kingdom for its crucial role in important matters like the Sudanese crisis and its effective coordination in the global fight against ISIS.
Hala Ghrait, the regional spokeswoman for the US Department of State, emphasized in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, following US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia, that the notion of the US withdrawing from the region is inaccurate.
She highlighted the US’ commitment to its relationship with Saudi Arabia and the entire region.
Ghrait pointed out that the meeting between Blinken and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had highlighted the significance of bilateral relations and the cooperation and coordination between the two countries in various issues, such as Yemen, Sudan, and the defeat of ISIS.
Regarding Yemen, Ghrait emphasized the importance of achieving an intra-Yemeni political solution, urging Houthi insurgents to consider the Yemeni people and renounce violence to achieve stability in the country.
Ghrait stressed the significant cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the US in addressing the Sudanese issue, highlighting that key stakeholders remain present in Jeddah and expressing optimism for the revival of negotiations.
She further acknowledged that the sanctions implemented by the US, in collaboration with Saudi Arabia and other entities, aimed to apply pressure on the parties that failed to comply with the ceasefire.
Ghrait clarified that the upcoming meeting of the International Coalition to defeat ISIS, scheduled to take place in Riyadh on Thursday, will focus on Syria and Iraq.
The gathering, with participation from over 30 ministers and representatives from more than 80 countries, will address issues such as funding counterterrorism efforts, fostering stability, as well as tackling the ISIS threat in Africa and Central Asia.
The spokeswoman further reiterated her country’s opposition to normalizing relations with Syria.
However, she acknowledged the US’ understanding of its regional partners’ intentions to establish direct relationships with the Syrian regime, as the goal is to exert pressure on the Syrian government.
Ghrait also affirmed that Blinken’s visit to Saudi Arabia highlights the importance of the bilateral relationship between the US and the Kingdom.
She explained that his meeting yesterday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman covered numerous bilateral, regional, and international issues.
Ghrait described the military relationship between her country and Saudi Arabia as “extremely strong,” noting that the Defense Department has “very strong ties” in all areas desired by the Saudis.
There is an exchange of ideas in the technological, weapons and logistical fields, she affirmed.