Washington, Dec 18 (PTI) US President Donald Trump spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during which they discussed regional security and key bilateral issues, the White House has said.
'President Trump thanked King Salman for his leadership and expressed his optimism towards resolving the Gulf Rift,” the White House said in a readout of the call on Thursday.
The two leaders discussed regional security and key bilateral issues, it said.
Trump's call comes in the waning days of his administration with the president set to depart office on January 20 when President-elect Joe Biden will be officially sworn-in.
Trump has refused to concede defeat, maintaining his unsubstantiated allegations that the November 3 election he lost to Biden was 'rigged'.
The US and Saudi relationship has remained cozy throughout the Trump administration, according to a NBC News report. From the start of his presidency, Trump cultivated Saudi Arabia and placed the kingdom at the heart of his Middle East policy, backing its stance against Iran and encouraging its purchase of US-made weapons.
However, Biden has pledged to 'reassess' the US ties with the oil-rich kingdom, and Saudi Arabia is likely to have a less privileged and personal relationship with the Biden administration than it has had with the Trump team, the report said, citing analysts' views.
Trump stood by Saudi Arabia, even as the CIA concluded that the powerful crown prince ordered the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, in Istanbul in October 2018, the report noted.
Biden, on the other hand, has described Saudi Arabia as a 'pariah' and said he believes Khashoggi was murdered on the orders of the crown prince, it said.
Biden has also suggested that he would stop selling weapons to Riyadh and pledged to defend the rights of political dissidents around the world, a nod to those imprisoned in the kingdom, the report said. PTI LKJ SCY AKJ SCY SCY