Joe Biden said on Saturday, after a disastrous image visit to Saudi Arabia, that the United States “would not depart from the Middle East“, while promising a”vision“news for the region.
In a speech delivered in Jeddah (west) at a summit that brought together the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain), as well as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, the American president promised that his country “I wouldn’t turn my back“middle eastern departure”a void that could be filled by China, Russia or Iran“.
Emphasizing that he was the first American president since the September 11, 2001, attacks to reach the Middle East without the US military engaging in a large-scale military intervention, he told an audience of Arab leaders that “The United States was investing to build a better future in the region in cooperation with all of you.“.
The 79-year-old US president, whose speech was applauded, concludes this Saturday his first tour of the Middle East after a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Criticized for his visit to the Gulf monarchy accused of serious human rights abuses, he stated that “the future would be of countries (…) whose citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisals“.”Integration, interconnection. These are the underlying themes of our meeting.” he said.
The Biden administration says it wants to promote a new “vision“for the Middle East, based on dialogue and economic and military cooperation. In the context of normalization processes between Israel and the Arab countries.
This did not prevent him from promising, in a transparent allusion to Tehran, where Russian President Vladimir Putin will soon visit: “We will not tolerate any country attempting to dominate another in the region through military build-up, incursions and/or threats.“.
The President of the United States hassolemnlyinvited his United Arab Emirates counterpart, Mohammed bin Zayed, to visit the United States, after icy relations in recent months.
The United States has also pledged $1 billion in support of food security.”short and long termin the Middle East and North Africa.
Biden says he spoke about the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi
The trip, however, is marked by the image of a president exchanging the “checkfist with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), accused by US intelligence of sponsoring the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi in 2018. Joe Biden had also promised to treat Saudi Arabia in “pariah“.
The American president assured on Friday, in a hastily organized press conference at night, that he had mentioned this matter “at the beginning“of his meeting with the crown prince, in fact at the head of the wealthy monarchy, claiming to have been”couldn’t be clearer“.
According to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir interviewed by CNN, the Crown Prince “explained on Friday (to Mr. Biden) that this was a tragedy for Saudi Arabia.”. He told him that “those responsible had been investigated, were facing justice and were now paying for the crime“, Mr. Jubeir added, indicating that for the kingdom, it was a closed case.
Oil at the center of concerns
Several major US newspapers published a photo of this almost casual greeting on Thursday, as activists accuse the US president of denying himself over a few barrels of oil.
The increase in the gallon of gasoline is a considerable issue a few months before the mid-term elections in the United States. “I am doing everything I can to increase production for the United States.“Joe Biden said on Friday, assuring that he had fruitful discussions with the Saudis, whose concrete results will be seen”in a few weeks“.
airplanes and electricity
Saudi Arabia and the United States have concluded 18 cooperation agreements in a wide variety of fields (space, finance, energy, health), according to a press release from the Gulf monarchy.
In addition, Washington seeks to chart a path towards normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not maintain official relations.
Joe Biden praised the decision”historical“Riyadh will open its airspace to”all companies“, including Israelis, and announced progress on a strategic island in the Red Sea, located between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.
The White House has also reported a Saudi deal to connect the power grids of the Gulf countries to that of Iraq, which relies heavily on power imported from Iran, a favorite hobby of Americans like the Saudis.