Saturday, April 20, 2024

“CIA head visited Saudi Arabia following Tehran-Riyadh rapprochement”

The chief of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Bill Burns was in Saudi Arabia this week to meet with officials and reinforce Washington’s commitment to intelligence cooperation, a US official told Al Arabiya.

“Director Burns traveled to Saudi Arabia, where he met with intelligence counterparts and country leaders on shared interests,” the official said.

The official added that Burns reinforced “our commitment to intelligence cooperation, especially in areas such as counterterrorism.”

Asked to confirm the trip, a CIA spokesperson stated that the agency does not comment on the director’s travel.

Ties between the US and Saudi Arabia have been turbulent over the last two years, particularly following President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to make the Persian Gulf country “a pariah.”

The CIA director’s quiet trip comes on the heels of a surprising agreement signed between Riyadh and Tehran, brokered by China, to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies and exchange ambassadors in the next month.

But US-Saudi cooperation on the military and intelligence levels has remained robust. The US and Saudi Arabia recently concluded their first joint counter-drone exercise at a new military testing center in Riyadh.

And Saudi Arabia recently signed what the US called “landmark deals” with Boeing for more than 120 aircraft worth $37 billion. The White House said the agreement could potentially support over one million American jobs across 44 states.

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