Secretary of State Blinken holds ‘candid’ talks with Saudi Crown Prince amid strained relations

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Jeddah on Wednesday for what was described as “candid” talks. The meeting, which took place amid strained relations between the two countries, lasted for several hours and covered a range of topics, including human rights and regional security. The US has faced criticism for its close ties with Saudi Arabia, particularly following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. In an op-ed for Newsweek, Middle East expert Michele Dunne argued that the relationship between the two countries is more complex than just oil and water, pointing to shared strategic interests and cultural ties. This latest meeting, however, signals a possible thaw in the relationship, with both sides expressing a willingness to engage in frank discussions.