Antony Blinken is expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

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U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken delivers a speech at Helsinki City Hall on June 2, 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.


Washington
CNN
—

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken began a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shortly after midnight in Jeddah, a State Department spokesman told CNN. The latest step towards reconciliation between the US government and the de facto head of a key US ally.

Relations between the two countries have soured in recent years following the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Investigative report The Crown Prince took charge. But in the wake of last year’s oil price volatility – Saudi Arabia announced it this week Reduce oil output Starting in July as part of an effort by producers to boost crude prices — the Biden administration Tried to engage again with the kingdom.

According to the State Department’s trip summary, Blinken will “meet with Saudi officials to discuss U.S.-Saudi strategic cooperation on a variety of bilateral issues, including regional and global issues and economic and security cooperation” and participate in meetings of the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council. A global coalition to defeat ISIS.

Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday afternoon and will travel to Riyadh on Wednesday for further meetings.

Speaking to the pro-Israel advocacy group AIPAC on Monday, Blinken also said that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be a topic of conversation during his visit.

The output cut announced by Saudi Arabia over the weekend is the biggest in years and will reduce its output to 9 million barrels per day. It came after a meeting in Vienna of a coalition known as OPEC+, which includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other smaller producers.

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Asked for comment on the decision to cut production ahead of Blinken’s visit, Deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel noted that gasoline prices in the U.S. have generally declined from the highs reached a year ago.

“We believe supply must meet demand, and we will continue to work with all producers and consumers to ensure energy markets support economic growth and deliver lower prices to American households,” Patel said at a briefing. “That’s what we’re focused on.”

On the campaign trail, then-candidate Joe Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia “the great country they are” on the world stage and “make them pay the price” for Khashoggi’s murder. But he missed that vow He visited the country last year and gave the crown prince a fist pump, giving the Saudi government a photo opportunity and outraged human rights groups.

At the time, the president defended his actions by saying his Saudi trip was critical to U.S. security.

“As president, it is my job to keep our country strong and safe. “We must resist Russian aggression, better position ourselves than China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world,” Biden wrote in an essay. The Washington Post.

“To do these things, we must engage directly with the countries most likely to affect those outcomes,” he wrote.

A few months after Biden’s visit, the United States decided that bin Salman Immunity should be provided Khashoggi’s fiancee filed a lawsuit against him.

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