In a statement issued on Saturday, the Department of State’s spokesman Ned Price said: “Secretary Blinken and the Foreign Minister discussed regional security, counterterrorism, and cooperation to deter and defend against attacks on the Kingdom.
“The Secretary outlined several key priorities of the new administration including elevating human rights issues and ending the war in Yemen.”
Taking to Twitter while confirming the development, Blinken said: “Saudi Arabia is an important security partner. We will continue our work together to defend the Kingdom from external threats, while revitalizing diplomacy to end the Yemen conflict and elevating human rights issues within our relationship.”
The Department’s statement came a day after the new administration on President Joe Biden announced on Friday that it would revoke the designation of the Houthi militia in Yemen as a terrorist organization.
According to critics, the designation, which was announced by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 11, could hinder efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to areas under the militia’s control.
In his first foreign policy speech since taking office in January, Biden said last week that the US will end its support for offensive operations in the Yemen conflict and that his country would step up diplomacy and support UN-led initiative to end the war.
“We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” the President said in his first major foreign policy speech since taking office last month.
According to figures released by the UN in December 2020, more than 230,000 Yemenis have died in the six-year-old war, mostly because of a lack of food, health services and infrastructure.
The Houthi militia has intensified attacks on the Yemeni government-held cities in the past year, according to the government of the war-torn country.
Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Houthi rebels seized control of northern provinces and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in 2015 to support Hadi’s government.
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