Biden will wait for Congress to return before taking major steps on US-Saudi relations, national security adviser says


President Joe Biden’s review of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia will be done “modestly” and will include bilateral consultations, with no major changes until Congress returns from recess, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan has previously said 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 might impose consequences following the kingdom’s decision to cooperate with Russia to cut oil production. .

“It is a relationship built over decades on a bilateral basis. And so the President will not act in a hurry. He will act methodically, strategically. And he’s going to take his time and consult with members of both parties, and he’s also going to have the opportunity to go back to Congress to sit down with them personally and work out the options,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Potential options, Sullivan noted, include re-examining arms sales to the kingdom.

“There’s nothing moving right now,” Sullivan told Bash on Sunday. “So it’s time to have those consultations, to make decisions that are in the best interest of the American people.”

Asked if Biden plans to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next month, Sullivan said there are “no plans” for such a meeting.

On the war in Ukraine, Bash asked Sullivan about the US response to a possible Russian nuclear attack, or detonating a nuclear weapon in the Black Sea.

Sullivan reiterated the US position that the use of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable.

“Using a nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine is using a nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine, and we’re not going to split the salami,” Sullivan said. “The Black Sea includes the port of Odessa and other cities where Ukrainians are currently exporting grains to the world market. I think that somehow the idea that there are differences of use here is dangerous.’