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U.S. is ‘not going anywhere,’ Middle East envoy says, as China’s Xi expected to visit Saudi Arabia

  • The U.S. on Friday disputed claims that a forthcoming visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia signals America's waning influence in the Middle East.
  • "The United States is a vital partner to not only Saudi Arabia but each of the countries in the region," Tim Lenderking, special envoy for Yemen, told CNBC.
  • Xi is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia next week for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, just a month after President Joe Biden's controversial visit.

US President Joe Biden being welcomed by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Alsalam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 15, 2022.Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration on Friday disputed claims that a forthcoming visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia signals America's waning influence in the Middle East, insisting that the U.S. is "not going anywhere."

Tim Lenderking, U.S. special envoy for Yemen, said that diplomatic visits by other global powers were to be expected, but said that the U.S. had asserted its commitment to the region following a visit by Biden in July.

"The major message that the president brought to the region is that the United States is not going anywhere," Lenderking told CNBC's Hadley Gamble.

Reports emerged Thursday that Xi is to arrive in Saudi Arabia next week for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — the Chinese premier's first official foreign visit since 2020 — as Beijing and Riyadh seek to consolidate ties. China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

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