Saudi Crown Prince Meets Commander of U.S. Central Command

They reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and latest developments in the region, Saudi Press Agency said late on Monday

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony for the 95th batch of cadets from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2018.
\ HANDOUT/ REUTERS

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met the new U.S. Central Command commander General Kenneth McKenzie in the capital Riyadh to discuss cooperation between the two countries, especially in the military arena, Saudi Press Agency said late on Monday.

They reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and latest developments in the region, SPA said.

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly last week to confirm retired General John Abizaid as the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, filling a vital position vacant since President Donald Trump took office more than two years ago.

The Senate voted 92 to seven for the 68-year-old retired four-star Army general, who led U.S. Central Command during the Iraq war.

Washington has not had an ambassador in Riyadh since January 2017, a 27-month period in which U.S.-Saudi ties have become increasingly complicated over issues including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Many in Washington have called for a tougher stance against the Saudis on matters such as the imprisonment and alleged torture of women's rights activists and other dissidents, and the killings of civilians by aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen War.

Trump nominated Abizaid for the position in November 2018.