Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks released Tuesday that the United States is a strategic partner and that Riyadh only has a few differences with the Biden administration that he is working to resolve. .
The kingdom’s de facto ruler has also said Saudi Arabia will not accept any pressure or interference in its internal affairs.
President Joe Biden, who has said he will only speak with his Saudi counterpart, King Salman, has taken a firmer stand with Riyadh on his record on human rights and the war in Yemen than his predecessor Donald Trump, who had close ties to Prince Mohammed.
“We are over 90% in agreement with the Biden administration when it comes to Saudi and American interests and we are working to strengthen those interests,” the prince said.
“The issues on which we disagree are less than 10% and we are working to find solutions and understandings … there is no doubt that the United States is a strategic partner,” he added.
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Saudi Arabia is also establishing strategic partnerships with Russia, India and China, he said in an interview with Saudi TV.
The Biden administration earlier this year released a U.S. intelligence report implicating the crown prince in the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but spared him direct punishment. The prince denies any involvement.
He also withdrew his support for the offensive operations of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthis.
The conflict is seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran who are locked in a rivalry for regional influence.
Prince Mohammed said his country wanted good relations with Iran, with which Riyadh severed diplomatic relations in 2016.
“Our problem is Iran’s negative behavior,” he said, mentioning Tehran’s nuclear program, missile program and support for proxies in the region.
“We are working with our regional and global partners to find solutions to these problems and we hope to overcome them for a good relationship that benefits everyone,” he added.
Regional sources said Saudi and Iranian officials had direct talks in Iraq this month in a bid to ease tensions with Yemen-focused talks and efforts to revive the nuclear deal from world powers. in 2015 with Tehran.
Saudi Arabia supported Trump’s 2018 decision to exit the pact and reimpose sanctions on Iran. Tehran responded by violating several nuclear restrictions.
Asked about Yemen, Prince Mohammed said no state wanted an armed militia along its borders and urged the Houthis to “sit down at the negotiating table.”
Last month, Riyadh presented a nationwide ceasefire proposal for Yemen, but the Houthis have yet to accept it.