CIA Director Burns visited KSA in bid to repair relations
The Director of the CIA visited Saudi Arabia last month in a bid to re-establish relations with the kingdom.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that CIA Director William Burns visited Saudi Arabia on an unannounced trip, in an attempt to rebuild relations with the Kingdom.
Relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have been deteriorating since the beginning of the Biden administration. Biden had called Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state during his campaign and only decided to repair relations with the kingdom once the US had need for its oil amid the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.
According to US and Saudi officials, Burns visited the city of Jeddah in mid-April to meet with the kingdom's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The WSJ report said that the conversation had a better tone than prior attempts by the Biden administration.
The report also said that the Biden administration is looking for someone with a strong relationship with KSA that the Kingdom will listen to in future talks. Biden announced in April that he intends to nominate Michael Ratney, who has experience in West Asia, as an ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
The White House's Middle East coordinator, Brett McGurk, had been a frequent visitor to Riyadh in recent months and had been attempting to repair a relationship that fell in disrepair after Biden's inauguration when he refused to speak with Mohammed bin Salman.
One Western diplomat related that a Saudi counterpart of his said, “This is the end of the road for us and Biden, but maybe the US also.”