‘Reorient… not rupture’: Biden defends Saudi visit in column | Mohammed bin Salman News

The US president wrote in The Washington Post that his visit will keep America “strong and safe” and human rights on the agenda.

US President Joe Biden has defended his upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia amid criticism that the trip represents a reverse slide in his administration’s commitments to human rights.

In an article published late Saturday in the Washington Post, Biden said the visit to the kingdom was important and ensured that the US remained “strong and safe”.

He added that he wanted to “reorient and not break ties” with the oil-rich Arab nation.

Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is part of wider Middle East tour from July 13 to July 16 including stops in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

“We must counter Russian aggression, put ourselves in the best position possible to compete with China, and work for more stability in a therefore part of the world,” Biden wrote.

“To do these things, we have to engage directly with the countries that can influence those outcomes,” he added.

“Saudi Arabia is one of them, and when I meet the leaders of Saudi Arabia on Friday, my goal will be to strengthen our future strategic partnership based on our interests. and shared responsibility, while staying true to fundamental American values.”

Experts say staying on top of the agenda during Biden’s stop in Jeddah will be the impetus to boost Saudi oil production in hopes of tame spiral fuel costs and inflation fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden said Saudi Arabia was “working with my experts to help stabilize the oil market with other OPEC.” [Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] producer “.

He also praised the kingdom’s support for The ceasefire is in progress in Yemen, where Riyadh has led a coalition against the Houthi rebels since 2015, as well as Saudi Arabia’s role in ending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). crisis.

The rhetoric is part of the continuing journey away from the Biden administration previous promises boycotted the longtime ally after the US intelligence community directly linked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Along the way, Biden has called Saudi Arabia the “bad guy” for their actions in Yemen and the murder of Khashoggi.

White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki, later intelligence report on Khashoggi, also suggested Biden would no longer deal directly with MBS, like his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who maintained close relations with the kingdom.

Earlier this week, however, Washington confirmed that MBS would attend a bilateral meeting between Biden and King Salman’s “leadership team” during the trip.

“I know that many people disagree with my decision to travel to Saudi Arabia,” Biden wrote in The Washington Post.

“My position on human rights is clear and old, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad, just as they will be on this trip,” he said. added, referring directly to Khashoggi’s murder.

Biden also wrote that the trip would be part of the broader effort to reinstate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Riyadh opposed and Trump withdrew from in 2018.

He added the visit would support continued normalization between Israel and Arab countries after the so-called Abrahamic Agreement, noting that he would be the first US president to fly from Israel to Saudi Arabia during the visit. next week.

The journey will be “a small symbol of the budding relationship and steps towards normalization between Israel and the Arab world, which my administration is working to deepen and expand,” he wrote. .

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