Senior aides to US President Joe Biden on Friday hailed progress toward resolving conflict in Yemen after "constructive" talks in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The meetings included Biden's top Middle East adviser, Brett McGurk, and his Yemen envoy, Tim Lenderking, and took place on Thursday and Friday, said Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.
"Their discussions focused on the critical progress being made toward a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Yemen, which President Biden has long prioritized," Watson said in a statement. "The US side confirmed its support for the defense of Saudi Arabia against threats from Yemen and elsewhere."
The meetings also included US energy envoy Amos Hochstein and Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. The White House summary did not mention the surprise decision earlier this month by Saudi-led OPEC+ to cut oil production.
The new Middle East
Officials did discuss "the establishment of a more integrated, stable and prosperous Middle East region" as well as 5G and 6G telecommunications technology, according to the White House, which said officials agreed to stay in communication.
The meetings come after Beijing recently brokered a deal to restore relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the top regional powers in the Middle East, a process the United States was largely left out of.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Gulf’s dominant Sunni Muslim and Shi’ite Muslim powers, respectively, have said they would launch arrangements to reopen embassies and consulates within the two-month period stipulated in their deal brokered by China.
Yemen's war is seen as one of several proxy battles between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Houthis, aligned with Iran, ousted a Saudi-backed government from Sanaa in late 2014, and have de facto control of north Yemen.