RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday welcomed Joe Biden’s commitment to help the Kingdom defend its people and territory.
The US president made the comments in his first foreign policy speech at the Department of State.
“Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes and other threats from Iranian supplied forces in multiple countries,” Biden said. “We’re going to continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and its people.”
The Kingdom has repeatedly been the target of missiles and drones launched by Iran-backed Houthi militants in Yemen.
Biden said that Timothy Lenderking, a long-serving US diplomat in the Middle East, had been appointed as a special envoy to Yemen.
The president said the war in Yemen “has to end” and that Lenderking would work with the UN and all parties in the conflict to push for a diplomatic solution.
Saudi Arabia, a member of the Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government, has repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomes the United States’ commitment, expressed in President Biden’s speech today, to cooperate with the Kingdom in defending its security and territory," said Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister. "We look forward to working with Tim Lenderking to achieve our joint goal of a comprehensive political resolution in Yemen as part of our shared vision for a peaceful and prosperous region."
Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman welcomed the US president's commitment to working with allies to resolve conflicts. He also welcomed the appointment of Lenderking and said the Kingdom was looking forward to working with its American partners to "alleviate the humanitarian situation and find a solution to the Yemen crisis, and ensure peace and stability."
Prince Khalid underscored the Kingdom's commitment to Yemen in seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
"Even before the Iran backed Houthi militants overthrew the government of Yemen in 2014, the Kingdom has spared no effort in finding a sustainable political resolution to the conflict, including the GCC initiative, the Kuwait talks, and numerous other UN brokered peace talks," he said.
A foreign ministry statement said the Kingdom welcomed Biden’s pledge to help Saudi Arabia defend itself and Washington’s commitment to a diplomatic solution in Yemen. “The Kingdom affirmed its steadfast position in supporting a comprehensive political solution to the Yemen crisis, and welcomed the US’ emphasis on the importance of supporting diplomatic efforts to solve the Yemeni crisis, including the efforts of the UN envoy Martin Griffiths,” the ministry said.
Saudi Arabia has taken a number of steps to progress the political solution, the statement continued, including the coalition’s declaration in April of a unilateral cease-fire, in response to a call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“The Kingdom looks forward to working with the Biden administration and with newly-appointed US envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking, the United Nations, Arab coalition countries and all Yemeni parties in order to reach a comprehensive political solution in Yemen,” the ministry added. “The Kingdom will continue its remarkable efforts to alleviate the human suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, and has provided more than $17 billion over the past few years.”
Saudi Arabia also said it wants to strengthen cooperation with the US to face “to deal with challenges in the region” including moving forward with the Middle East peace process.