Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and visiting Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman discussed Iran’s destabilising activities in the region, the State Department said after talks between both officials in Washington on Wednesday.
They also discussed the need for stronger maritime security in order to promote freedom of navigation, the department added in astatement.
The talks were held amid heightened tensions between the West and Iran over a 2015 nuclear deal and attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf blamed on Tehran.
Pompeo and Prince Khalid, a former Saudi ambassador in Washington, also discussed Yemen where the government and southern separatists are locked in a standoff. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, major partners in an alliance fighting Yemen’s Iran-allied Al Houthi militants, are trying to resolve the crisis.
Pompeo reiterated US support for a negotiated resolution between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, the State Department said.
“The Secretary and the minister agreed that dialogue represents the only way to achieve a stable, unified, and prosperous Yemen,” State Department’s spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
The talks between Prince Khalid and Pompeo, moreover, reviewed “historical relations” between Saudi Arabia and the US. They emphsised the two countries’ cooperation in standing against “Iran’s hostile activities,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a tweet.