US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on a three-day trip to strengthen strained ties with the oil-rich kingdom as the long-time US ally forges closer relations with Washington’s rivals.

Blinken met Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman late Tuesday, with the State Department saying they discussed their “shared commitment to advance stability, security, and prosperity across the Middle East and beyond.” “The secretary also emphasized that our bilateral relationship is strengthened by progress on human rights,” a statement said.

Israeli media reported that Blinken and bin Salman also discussed the possibility of Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with the Zionist entity.

A US official told The Times of Israel, that the two “agreed to continue conversations on the matter moving forward.” A Saudi statement acknowledged the meeting, but offered no specifics.

Blinken will head to Riyadh Wednesday for a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting.

His trip comes at a time of quickly shifting alliances in the Middle East, centered around a China-brokered rapprochement between regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran in March.

Another landmark change saw Syria invited back to the Arab League last month for the first time since the start of the 12-year war.

Original Article Source: Al Manar | Published on Wednesday, 07 June 2023 09:54 (about 355 days ago)