President Joe Biden plans to “recalibrate” the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia while emphasizing outreach to King Salman, in a move that signals a downgrade in ties with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler.
“We’re going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday. “Part of that is going back to the engagement counterpart-to-counterpart. The president’s counterpart is King Salman.”
The U.S. statement is the latest sign of how Biden’s team is reassessing the close ties established between Washington and the world’s largest oil exporter, Riyadh during Trump’s administration. Former President Donald Trump made Saudi Arabia the centerpiece of his strategy toward the Middle East after taking his first trip abroad as president there.
In Biden’s first few days, the U.S. put a hold on some key weapons sales to the kingdom and announced new efforts to bring an end to the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Biden has also called on Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record.