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Blinken heads to Saudi Arabia with Israel ties on agenda

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s much-anticipated visit to the kingdom comes after years of strain over the price of oil and human rights.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for a three-day trip focused on security and economic cooperation as the Biden administration seeks to patch up relations with Riyadh, blunt China’s rising influence and boost Arab recognition of Israel. 

High on the agenda for Blinken’s June 6-8 visit will be Saudi Arabia's potential normalization with Israel. The administration has sought to build on its predecessor’s Abraham Accords, which saw the Jewish state in 2020 establish relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.   

“The United States has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Blinken said Monday in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington. "We believe we can and indeed we must play an integral role in advancing it." 

The State Department said Blinken will also discuss with Saudi counterparts the opportunities for regional de-escalation, including in Sudan. The administration credits Saudi Arabia with helping to evacuate stranded American citizens and hosting talks between the warring Sudanese generals. 

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