US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has confirmed he will visit Saudi Arabia, his first trip there following the recent re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a deal brokered by China.
The US State Department, in its announcement last Friday, underscored that Blinken’s primary agenda during his visit, beginning on June 6, would revolve around meeting Saudi officials and participating in discussions at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
According to the State Department, the visit aims to “discuss US-Saudi strategic cooperation on regional and global issues and a range of bilateral issues including economic and security cooperation.” Blinken’s itinerary also includes co-hosting a meeting targeting the global coalition against ISIL (ISIS). The State Department emphasized the importance of this meeting, stating it aims to “address the continuing threat of ISIS and reaffirm our commitment to ensure its enduring defeat.”
This comes as US officials have also expressed cautious optimism towards a normalization of relations agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Blinken previously commented in March after the deal’s announcement, stating, “From our perspective, anything that can help reduce tensions, avoid conflict, and curb in any way dangerous or destabilizing actions by Iran is a good thing.”