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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Biden will meet Arab leaders as US seeks to re-establish influence in the Middle East

US President Joe Biden met with Arab leaders in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, where he will lay out his vision for US engagement in the Middle East.

Biden will attend the GCC+3 summit, meeting with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—as well as Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.

He is also expected to discuss energy security with Gulf leaders, but allies say an announcement on oil production is unlikely until next month’s meetings of OPEC+, which includes 13 OPEC members and 10 others. Oil producers are involved. Russia.

“I don’t think you should expect any specific announcement here bilaterally because we believe any further action will be taken to ensure enough energy to protect the health of the global economy in the context of OPEC+ Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters during a flight to Jeddah on Friday.

Biden and the leaders of the GCC+3 summit are expected to announce an agreement to connect Iraq’s electric grid to the GCC’s grid via Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, thus reducing Baghdad’s dependence on Iran.

On Friday, Biden met with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, and Biden later said they had “good discussions” on ensuring sufficient oil supplies to support global economic growth.

“I’m doing everything possible to increase supplies to the United States, which I expect to happen,” Biden said.

Biden flew directly from Tel Aviv to Jeddah, just hours after the state announced the opening of its airspace, effectively ending the country’s ban on flights to and from Israel. Riyadh’s gesture is part of a wider warming of relations between Israel and the Arab world as they align against Tehran.

Biden is claiming the move is the result of pressure from his administration toward a more integrated and stable Middle East region.

“It’s a big deal. A big deal,” Biden said. “Not only symbolically but basically, this is a big deal,” Biden said, adding that he hopes the move will eventually lead to a broader normalization of Saudi-Israeli relations. The two countries do not currently recognize each other.

Biden said his talks with Saudi leaders help re-establish US influence in the Middle East, part of a strategy to engage the kingdom, whose poor human rights record he has condemned in the past.

“We are not going to leave a blank in the Middle East for Russia or China,” Biden told reporters after his meeting with the Saudis. “And we’re getting results.”

On top of Biden’s meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed and other Saudi royals, both sides ignored shouted questions from the US press, including “Is Saudi still a pariah?” and “Jamal Khashoggi – will you apologize to his family?”

US intelligence has concluded that the Crown Prince sanctioned the brutal killing of Saudi journalist and US resident Khashoggi.

Biden, who said during his presidential campaign that the state should be treated as a pariah, told reporters that he gave his views on human rights and Khashoggi’s assassination “crystal clear” to the Crown Prince, who, in turn, told Biden. claimed that he was “not personally responsible for it.”

“I indicated that I thought he was,” Biden said as he responded.

In an interview with VOA, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said Biden’s Saudi visit “came out as a slap in the face” to all who stand up for human rights.

“What President Biden is doing is suggesting that human rights are cheap and many other influences can be bargained for,” she said.

Biden’s Middle East visit also took him to the West Bank, where he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Jerusalem, where he held talks with Israel’s acting prime minister, Yair Lapid.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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