Biden to Meet Saudi Crown Prince in Jeddah Next Month
US President Joe Biden will also meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit to Saudi Arabia. The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden will travel to Jeddah on July 15-16 and that a meeting is “expected”.
That is a break from Biden’s earlier harsh tone towards Saudi Arabia.
Especially the meeting with the crown prince, who practically rules the country, is very controversial in the United States. US intelligence agencies concluded that Bin Salman was responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As a presidential candidate, Biden said he still sees Saudi Arabia as a pariah state because of Khashoggi’s murder.
But now Biden needs Saudi Arabia. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions imposed by the United States against Russia, Biden is looking for other energy suppliers. Saudi Arabia has large gas and oil reserves and the United States hopes to increase production to counter the rise in energy prices.
According to a spokesperson, Biden will certainly discuss energy and food security, but the murder of Khashoggi will also be discussed. Biden also wants to discuss human rights, peace in Yemen and Iran’s position in the region.
The US president will fly directly from Israel, where he will speak with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. It is the first time that a US president flies directly from Israel to an Arab state that does not recognize Israel. He will also visit a summit in Jeddah with countries from the Gulf region and Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.