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White House says Saudi deputy defense minister meeting U.S. officials

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman arrives at a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., August 29, 2019. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo

July 6, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister was in Washington on Tuesday meeting with senior U.S. officials including White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the White House said.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the death in 2018 of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi would likely come up in talks with Prince Khalid bin Salman, the son of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

President Joe Biden, not expected to meet the prince, has shifted U.S. policy to a more neutral stance from the pro-Saudi policy practiced by former President Donald Trump.

The two governments have had strained ties since Khashoggi’s death. U.S. intelligence in February said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, allegations denied by Saudi Arabia.

The prince was the highest-level Saudi emissary to visit Washington since Biden took office in January. They were expected to discuss differences over the U.S. desire to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal, among other issues.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Berkrot)



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