Antony Blinken calls Saudi Arabian foreign minister to discuss Yemen conflict

The call follows Washington's decision to end support for the military campaign

Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduces President Joe Biden for remarks to State Department staff, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Friday discussed issues ranging from regional security to human rights and the war in Yemen, the State Department said on Saturday.

The discussion between Mr Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud took place on the same day that the United States said it intended to revoke a terrorist designation for Yemen's Houthi movement. Houthi militias have long been supported as a regional proxy force of Iran, and Saudi Arabia has led a coalition against the group since 2015.

"The secretary outlined several key priorities of the new administration, including elevating human rights issues and ending the war in Yemen," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

The new administration of President Joe Biden has said it would cut off US support for the military campaign in Yemen and step up diplomacy to end the conflict through the appointment of a Yemen envoy.

The US and Saudi officials also talked about counterterrorism and cooperation to deter attacks against Saudi Arabia, Mr Price said.

The discussion, which took place by phone, was the first to occur between the two men, the Saudi state news agency SPA said earlier on Saturday.

The foreign minister congratulated Mr Blinken on his appointment last week and said the kingdom hopes to work with the United States to face common challenges and maintain regional stability, SPA said.

Mr Blinken's first call to a Gulf state since assuming his new role was to the United Arab Emirates' minister of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.


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