Biden’s top national security officials set to travel to Saudi Arabia

Sullivan is likely to travel with Brett McGurk and Amos Hochstein.

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

US President Joe Biden’s top national security aide will lead a senior delegation to Saudi Arabia this weekend, a source familiar with the trip said on Tuesday.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was scheduled to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah last month but postponed the trip at the last minute. The White House said Sullivan had a “cracked rib.”

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

Sullivan is likely to travel with Brett McGurk and Amos Hochstein. McGurk is the White House’s Middle East czar, while Hochstein is a top aide to President Joe Biden. McGurk has been leading efforts to secure a ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of all hostages held by Hamas. For his part, Hochstein has been tasked with ensuring that cross-border exchanges between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah do not escalate into a full-scale war between Lebanon and Israel.

Hochstein also plays a senior role in advising Biden on US energy policy.

A US official previously told Al Arabiya English that Sullivan was originally going to the Kingdom to consult “broadly” on a number of issues. “He has not been to Saudi Arabia in some time and there’s lots to discuss,” the official said.

Officials downplayed any expectations for major announcements or breakthroughs, with one saying this would be a meeting to check in with the US’s Saudi counterparts.

Washington has been pushing talks on normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel for months, but those negotiations were put on hold following the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

The only way Saudi Arabia will establish ties and recognize Israel is through a two-state solution, which includes Palestinian statehood, something Riyadh will not back down from, officials and diplomats familiar with Saudi thinking have told Al Arabiya English.

Riyadh says that a Palestinian state remains the key to such an agreement. Just as crucial as the Palestinian state would be a treaty or security pact between Washington and Riyadh, as well as cooperation on Saudi Arabia’s civilian nuclear program.

Read more: A two-state solution is the only way for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel: Diplomat

Top Content Trending