7 June 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Riyadh for meetings with senior Saudi officials and GCC counterparts. A joint U.S-GCC ministerial statement reaffirmed “their commitment to freedom of navigation and maritime security in the region and their determination to counter aggressive and illegal actions at sea or elsewhere that might threaten the shipping lanes, international trade and oil installations in the GCC states”. The ministers also urged “Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency”, while hailing “the decision by Saudi Arabia and Iran to resume diplomatic relations”. During his visit, Blinken commented on Iran-Saudi normalisation mediated by China, maintaining: “If countries, whoever they are, can play a positive role in helping to advance peace, de-escalate tensions… we think that’s a good thing.  And of course, the Saudis and Iranians have been talking together for at least a couple of years to get to this place. We’ll see what happens now. But again, if it reduces tensions, if it at least takes one problem off of the board, that’s very positive”.

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