Ben Farhan: The Biden administration's appointments indicate its understanding of the common issues between Washington and Riyadh (Getty)</p><div><p>Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said, Thursday, that his country is "optimistic about an excellent relationship with the United States under the administration of President Joe Biden."
Bin Farhan added, in statements to the semi-official Saudi Al-Arabiya channel, excerpts of which were published Thursday, on its website, that the appointments in the Biden administration “indicate its understanding of the files and common issues between Washington and Riyadh,” without providing details. He continued, “Our relationship with America is that of our common institutions and interests that have not changed.”
And US media reports had expected a “tense relationship” between Saudi Arabia and the Biden administration, after 4 years in which former President Donald Trump gave Riyadh all support.
Observers say that the Kingdom is concerned that the Biden administration will backtrack on sanctions against Iran and return to the nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew, and limit arms sales to Riyadh and hold it accountable for the issue of rights.
In this regard, bin Farhan said, in his statements to the “Al Arabiya” channel, today: “We will consult with the United States regarding the agreement with Iran, so that it has a strong basis.” He pointed out that European countries understand that the previous agreement with Tehran contained shortcomings, indicating that it did not include Tehran’s ballistic missile program.
He added that “the weakness of previous agreements with Iran is due to the lack of coordination with the countries of the region, and the Iranian regime must change its ideas and focus on the welfare of its people.” He continued, “Our hand is extended for peace with Iran, but it does not abide by its agreements,” stressing that Iran’s calls for dialogue aim to procrastinate and escape from its crises.
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed Qatar’s call for a comprehensive dialogue in the region between Tehran and the Gulf states. He added, via Twitter, “We have consistently emphasized that the solution to our challenges lies in cooperation to form a jointly strong region, a peaceful, stable and prosperous region free from global or regional hegemony.”
Iran welcomes my brother FM @Music_AlThani_‘s call for inclusive dialogue in our region
As we have consistently emphasized, the solution to our challenges lies in collaboration to jointly form a ‘strong region’: peaceful, stable, prosperous & free from global or regional hegemony.
– Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 19, 2021
The opening of the Saudi embassy in Doha “within days”
On restoring diplomatic relations with Qatar, Bin Farhan said, “The reopening of the Saudi embassy in Doha will take place within days, and there is a Saudi technical team working on that.” He stressed that “all the four countries (Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt) agree on the importance of reconciliation with Qatar.”
He pointed out that “the Al-Ula (Gulf) agreement lays the basis for solving all outstanding problems (between the Gulf states), and we trust that everyone who signs the Al-Ula agreement has the intention to implement it.”
On January 5, the GCC summit was held in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, with the participation of the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad, and resulted in the signing of an agreement for Gulf reconciliation.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar, claiming its support for terrorism, which the latter denied at the time, and considered it an “attempt to undermine its sovereignty.”
The Yemeni affair
On the Yemeni issue, the Saudi foreign minister said, “The Riyadh agreement is the basis for a political solution and a comprehensive settlement to the Yemen crisis.” He added, “If the Houthis decide that Yemen’s interest is the most important, it will facilitate reaching a solution.” And he considered that the designation of the Houthis as a “terrorist organization” by Washington “deserved classification.”
On November 5, 2019, the Riyadh Agreement was signed between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, under Saudi sponsorship and UN support.
Among the most prominent provisions of the agreement is the formation of a 50/50 government with the participation of the Transitional Council (it was formed on December 18 last year).