Biden plans to 'recalibrate' Saudi relations, will call Netanyahu soon

Washington - 'US will help Saudi Arabia with self-defence needs'

By Reuters

Published: Tue 16 Feb 2021, 10:11 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Feb 2021, 10:26 PM

US President Joe Biden plans to recalibrate US relations with Saudi Arabia and will communicate through The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

Psaki told reporters Biden plans a call soon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Some critics have accused Biden of snubbing Netanyahu for having not yet spoken to the leader of the top US ally in the Middle East nearly a month after taking office.

"We've made clear from the beginning that we are going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia," Psaki said.

"I expect at an appropriate time he will have a conversation with him. I don’t have a prediction on the timeline for that," she said.

Psaki said Saudi Arabia has critical self-defence needs and the United States will work with the Saudis on this "even as we make clear areas where we have disagreements and where we have concerns. And that certainly is a shift from the prior administration."

Psaki said Biden's first call with a leader in the region will be with Netanyahu and it will be soon.

"Israel is of course an ally. Israel is a country where we have an important strategic security relationship, and our team is fully engaged, not at the head of state level quite yet but very soon," she said.

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