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Saudi Arabia’s ties to the U.S. and China are not mutually exclusive: Al Jubeir

Saudi Arabia will continue to strengthen its relationships with both the U.S. and China, one of the kingdom’s top diplomats told CNBC as President Joe Biden paid a closely-watched official visit to the country.

“We build bridges with people; we don’t see one as exclusive of the other,” Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Jeddah.

“We want to be able to deal with everybody and we want to be able to engage with everybody. This is what we have done,” said al-Jubeir, who was recently appointed as envoy for climate affairs.

“China is our largest trading partner. It’s a huge market for energy and a huge market in the future. And China is a big investor in Saudi Arabia — the United States is of course, our number one partner when it comes to security and political coordination, as well as investments and trade between the two countries.”

The conversation took place against a backdrop of Biden’s much publicized — and criticized — visit to the Middle East, his first since taking office. The president was on a mission to restore ties with Saudi Arabia, a strategic ally of some 80 years, and a country he has spent years excoriating for its human rights abuses.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir addresses a news conference in the desert kingdom’s capital Riyadh on November 15, 2018.

Fayez Nureldine | AFP | Getty Images

Hedging their bets

Still, the sheer scale and depth of the political, military and economic ties between Washington and Riyadh mean that both sides have a clear interest in upholding the nearly century-old relationship.

“With the United States, we share a history and we share contemporary issues … the challenges in our region, whether it’s Iran, Yemen, Iraq, supporting Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, peace process, Horn of Africa, G5 countries of the Sahel stabilizing Libya, Afghanistan… our relationship with the U.S. in dealing with these issues is critical,” al-Jubeir said.

It’s important “for the mutual benefit of the two countries, and so that relationship is very solid and very strong,” the minister added. “And we believe that the last 80 yearsit has provided tremendous benefits to both countries, and we look forward to building for the next 80 years.”

Read More: Saudi Arabia’s ties to the U.S. and China are not mutually exclusive: Al Jubeir

2022-07-16 04:37:17

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