U.S. ‘will not walk away’ from Middle East, to remain an active, engaged partner: Biden – National

President Joe BidenSpeaking at a summit of Arab leaders, on Saturday said the United States “will not leave the Middle East as he tries to ensure stability in a volatile corner of the world and promote push the flow of oil around the world to reverse rising gas prices.

His remarks, delivered at the Gulf Cooperation Council at the conclusion of the final leg of a four-day tour, come as the region prepares for a potential confrontation with Iran.

“We’re not going to walk away and leave the void to be filled by China, Russia or Iran,” Biden said. “We will try to build on this moment with dynamic, principled, American leadership.”

He said he has a clear understanding of the challenges in the Middle East and that the United States intends to continue to engage in the region. “The United States will remain an active partner in the Middle East.”

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Speaking Saturday in Saudi Arabia at a summit of Gulf leaders, as well as leaders from Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, Biden said: “We’re not going to walk away. and leave the void to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.” “The United States will remain an active partner in the Middle East,” he added.

Although US forces continue to target terrorists in the region and remain deployed at bases across the Middle East, Biden thinks he is turning the tide after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan’s country.

“Today, I can proudly say that the era of land wars in the region, which involved large numbers of American forces, has not yet been waged.

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Biden says he raised the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia at the meeting

Biden also pressed his counterparts, many of whom lead repressive governments, to guarantee human rights, including women’s rights, and allow their citizens to speak openly.

“The future will be won by countries reaching the full potential of their populations, including allowing people to ‘question and criticize leaders without fear of reprisal,’” he said.

Before the speech, Biden spent the morning meeting privately with the leaders of Iraq, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, some of whom he had never sat with.

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Biden invited Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who became president of the UAE two months ago, to visit the White House this year, saying he looks forward to “another period of strong and growing cooperation” between the countries. their country under the leadership of the Sheik.

The Gulf Cooperation Council summit in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah is an opportunity for Biden to demonstrate his commitment to the region after spending most of his presidency focusing on the invasion. Russia’s influence over Ukraine and China’s growing influence in Asia.

Click to play video: 'Biden holds hands with crown prince of Saudi Arabia, says he raised Jamal Khashoggi murder during meeting'

Biden holds hands to touch Saudi crown prince, says he raised Jamal Khashoggi murder during meeting

Biden holds hands to touch Saudi crown prince, says he raised Jamal Khashoggi murder during meeting

Hours before the conference began, the White House released satellite imagery showing that Russian officials had recently twice visited Iran to see the weapons-capable drones the country was looking for. swords for use in the war in Ukraine.

None of the countries present at the summit have been aggressive with the US to punish Russia, a major foreign policy priority of the Biden administration. If anything, the UAE has emerged as a sort of financial haven for Russian billionaires and their multimillion-dollar yachts. Egypt remains open to Russian tourists.

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The release of satellite images showing that Russian officials visited Kashan Airport on June 8 and July 15 to look at the drones could help authorities tighten their ties to the country. war with concerns of many Arab states over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, missile program and support for the militants in the land.

A senior Biden administration official, who spoke briefly to reporters ahead of the summit, said Moscow’s efforts to buy drones from Tehran showed Russia was “taking a effective way into Iran”.

Biden’s attendance at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit following Friday’s meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom and heir successor to the throne is currently held by his father’s King Salman.

The president initially shunned Crown Prince Mohammed because of human rights abuses, particularly the murder of American writer Jamal Khashoggi, which US intelligence officials believe was likely approved by the crown prince.

But Biden decided he needed to repair the longstanding relationship between the two countries to address soaring gas prices and promote stability in the volatile region.

Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed greeted each other with a handshake as the president arrived at the royal palace in Jeddah, a gesture that was quickly criticized. Biden later said he did not shy away from discussing Khashoggi’s killing during their meeting.

According to a US official familiar with the private conversations, the topic made for a “chilling” start to the discussion.

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However, the atmosphere eventually turned more relaxed, the official said, as they talked about energy security, expanding high-speed internet access in the Middle East and other issues. Biden even managed to inject a bit of humor into the conversation at the end of the meeting, according to the unnamed official speaking about a private meeting.

The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news network, citing an unnamed Saudi source, reported that Crown Prince Mohammed reacted to Biden’s mention of Khashoggi by saying efforts to impose a tuple can be counterproductive. He also said the US made a mistake at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where inmates were tortured and forced Biden to kill Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during a recent Israeli raid on the city of Jenin. on the West Coast.

Adel Al-Jubeir, the kingdom’s foreign minister, called the visit a “huge success” and dismissed questions of friction between the two countries. .

“Maybe the skeptics are people looking for theater or drama. However, the reality is that the relationship is very solid,” he told Arab News, a Saudi news organization.

When addressing the Gulf Cooperation Council, Biden will present his best vision for the region and the role of the United States there, the White House said. The Biden administration is also expected to announce $1 billion in food security assistance to the Middle East and North Africa.

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Click to play video: 'Biden fists fists at Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia amid criticism over meeting'

Biden holds hands and touches the crown prince of Saudi Arabia amid criticism over the meeting

Biden holds hands and touches the crown prince of Saudi Arabia amid criticism over the meeting

The president’s first Middle East trip comes 11 months after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and as Mr Biden aims to reorient the US away from the devastating wars in the Middle East and ongoing conflicts. takes place from Libya to Syria.

Energy prices – rising since Russia invaded Ukraine – are expected to be high on the agenda. But Biden aides have softened expectations that he will sign a deal for manufacturers in the region to immediately boost supply.

“I doubt you’ll see that in a few weeks,” Biden told reporters late Friday.

At the summit, Biden was prepared to hear concerns about regional stability and security, food security, climate change, and the continuing threat of terrorism.

Overall, there is little that the nine Mideast heads of state agree on when it comes to foreign policy. For example, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE are trying to isolate and squeeze Iran in terms of its reach and regional proxies. On the other hand, Oman and Qatar have solid diplomatic relations with Iran and have acted as mediators for negotiations between Washington and Tehran.

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Qatar recently hosted talks between US and Iranian officials as they tried to revive the Iran nuclear deal. Not only did Iran share a huge underwater gas field with Qatar in the Persian Gulf, but it also rushed to aid Qatar when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties and imposed sanctions. lasted for years for Qatar, ending shortly before Biden took office. .

Biden’s actions have disappointed some leaders. While the US played a key role in encouraging a months-long ceasefire in Yemen, his decision to reverse a Trump-era move that labeled Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group has angered the leaders of the Emirate and Saudi Arabia.


Batrawy reports from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Megarian and Miller reported from Washington.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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