Biden will wait for Congress to return before taking any major steps on US-Saudi relationship, national security adviser says
President Joe Biden’s reassessment of the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia will happen “methodically” and will include bipartisan consultations, and there will be no major changes until after Congress returns from recess, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Sullivan has previously said that the President would examine all aspects of the US-Saudi relationship, as administration officials continue quiet discussions with members of Congress and congressional aides about how the US could impose consequences following the kingdom’s decision to partner with Russia in cutting oil production.
“This is a relationship that got built over decades on a bipartisan basis. And so the President isn’t going to act precipitously. He is going to act methodically, strategically. And he’s going to take his time and consult with members of both parties, and also to have an opportunity for Congress to return so that he can sit with them in person and work through the options,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Potential options, Sullivan noted, include a reexamining of arms sales to the kingdom.
“There’s nothing imminently moving now,” Sullivan told Bash on Sunday. “So there is time for him to have those consultations to make decisions that are in the best interests of the American people.”
Asked if Biden plans to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit next month, Sullivan said there were “no plans” for such a meeting.
On the war in Ukraine, Sullivan was asked by Bash about the US response to a potential Russian nuclear strike that takes out a relatively small target or if it detonates a nuclear weapon in the Black Sea.
Sullivan reiterated the US position that any use of a nuclear weapon would be unacceptable.
“The use of a nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine is the use of a nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine, and we’re not going to slice the salami,” Sullivan said. “The Black Sea includes the ports of Odessa and other cities from which the Ukrainians are currently exporting grain to the world market. The notion that somehow there’s differences in use here, I think, is a dangerous notion.”