Saudi official in US for talks on Yemen, Iran

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Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister on Tuesday became the highest-ranking Saudi envoy to visit Washington since Joe Biden became president in January, and held talks with senior officials on the Yemen war and threats from Iran.

The minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is the younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The two officials discussed the US partner-ship with Saudi Arabia, regional security and “the US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups.”

The prince also met with Colin Kahl, the US defense undersecretary for policy, and the two discussed “efforts to end the war in Yemen and the shared US-Saudi commitment to counter Iran’s destabilising activities” and other issues, the Pentagon said.

The meetings were to give Saudi Arabia a sense of how relations with the United States have shifted from the pro-Saudi policies of former Republican President Donald Trump.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthi group ousted the country’s government from Sanaa. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s gov-ernment is now in Aden, though Hadi is based in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Tens of thousands of Yemenis, mostly civilians, have died in six years of war and millions are on the brink of famine.

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