FILE PHOTO-John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, answers questions during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 17, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia kept Washington informed of its talks with Iran to restore diplomatic relations but the United States was not directly involved, White House spokesman John Kirby (NYSE:KEX) said on Friday.
The road map announced on Friday appeared to be the result of several rounds of talks, including some held in Baghdad and Oman, Kirby said, adding that the United States has supported that process as promoting an end to the war in Yemen and to what he termed Iranian aggression:
“The Saudis did keep us informed about these talks that they were having, just as we keep them informed on our engagements, but we weren’t directly involved.”
The White House believes that internal and external pressure, including effective Saudi deterrence against attacks from Iran or its proxies, ultimately brought Iran to the table, Kirby said.
“We support any efforts to de-escalate tensions there and in the region. We think it’s in our interests, and it’s something that we worked on through our own effective combination of deterrence and diplomacy.”
As for normalization of Saudi ties with Israel, he said, “it’s not clear that this arrangement affects that or is designed to deal with that, but we obviously continue to support normalization.”