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January 21, 2021 2:40 pm

Saudi Foreign Minister ‘Optimistic’ on US Ties Under Biden, Calls on Iran to Change Priorities

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Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, at the State Department, in Washington, US, October 14, 2020. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, said Thursday that the country is “optimistic” about relations with the United States under President Joe Biden, and called on Iran to change its priorities, according to an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network.

“We are optimistic of having excellent ties with the US under a Biden administration,” he said.

He also said that the government in Iran should shift its focus to its own citizens, the Dubai-based network reported, and addressed its conflict against the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen.

“The Biden administration will see that we have common goals with regards to the situation in Yemen,” bin Farhan said. “The Houthis will facilitate reaching a solution if they decide that the interest of Yemen is the most important.”

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Last week, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organization. On Saturday, Jake Sullivan — Biden’s pick for National Security Adviser — criticized the parting decision as a mistake.

“Houthi commanders need to be held accountable, but designating the whole organization will only inflict more suffering on Yemeni people and impede diplomacy critical to end the war,” he wrote on Twitter.

A report on Monday in the London-based Arabic news outlet Elaph, citing an Israeli official, said that Saudi Arabia would not join other Arab nations in normalizing relations with Israel until progress was made on the Palestinian issue.

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