US Conditions Cooperation With Saudis on Future Behavior

State Department Spokesman Ned Price during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)

The United States seeks to move forward with Saudi Arabia on the goal of regional peace, but cooperation will be contingent on the kingdom respecting American values, a State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a press briefing.

“We seek to accomplish a great deal with the Saudis to end the war in Yemen and ease Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, to use our leadership to forge ties across the region’s most bitter divides, whether that’s finding a way back from the brink of war with Iran into a meaningful regional dialogue, or forging a historic peace with Israel,” Price said on Monday.

But, he said, that would only be possible “in a partnership with Saudi Arabia that respects America’s values. Saudi actions will determine how much of this ambitious shared positive agenda we can achieve.”

The comment follows the announcement of U.S. sanctions of some Saudi officials over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not included in the sanctions, even though President Joe Biden said during the 2020 campaign that he believed he had ordered the killing.

Price said the U.S. is now “focused on future conduct” of Saudi Arabia, which will taken into account in evaluating any new arms sales.