Biden explains his trip to Saudi Arabia

Riyadh can help the United States counter Russia and China as well as mitigate the impact of the energy crisis, he wrote in an op-ed.

US President Joe Biden has defended his plans to visit Saudi Arabia, saying engagement with Riyadh is key to countering « Russia’s Aggression » reach « greater stability » in the Middle East and ensuring Washington’s ability to “outclass China”.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Saturday evening, Biden directly responded to criticism of the trip, saying that while human rights issues are always on the agenda, his job is to keep the United States “strong and secure” and one “A safer and more integrated Middle East benefits Americans in many ways. »

“We need to counter Russia’s aggression, put ourselves in the best possible position to outperform China and work for greater stability in an important region of the world. To do these things, we need to engage directly with the countries that can impact these outcomes,” Biden wrote, adding that Saudi Arabia is one such nation.

The president listed some practical benefits of “redirect« relationships »with a country that has been a strategic partner for 80 years.

“Its waterways are critical to global trade and the supply chains we rely on. Its energy resources are vital to mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine“, said the American leader, revealing that the oil-rich Saudi Arabia is now working with American experts”to help stabilize oil markets with other OPEC producers.

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Biden also pointed out that « violent extremism« is less likely to increase in a region »that come together through diplomacy and cooperation.

Admitting that his visit is seen by many as controversial, Biden said his administration backtracked « blank check policytowards Riyadh by releasing the intelligence report into the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey (which held Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for ordering the killing) and imposing new sanctions in the state. Riyadh claimed its security officers « went rogue » in Istanbul.

« My administration has made it clear that the United States will not tolerate extraterritorial threats and harassment against dissidents and activists by any governmentBiden said, simultaneously hailing some of Riyadh’s accomplishments in international politics.

Biden used his op-ed to contrast his own administration’s Middle East policies with those of Donald Trump, whom he called only « my predecessorwithout ever mentioning his name.

Biden is scheduled to visit the Middle East July 13-16. It will stop in Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia. In his op-ed, the president stressed the symbolic significance of his direct flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia.

« This trip will also be a small symbol of the budding relations and steps toward normalization between Israel and the Arab world, which my administration is working to deepen and expand. » he explained.

The announcement of the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia and especially his upcoming meeting with the crown prince drew heavy criticism as Biden had previously pledged to make Saudi Arabia a « pariahon Khashoggi’s murder. His administration is struggling to contain soaring gas prices in the United States and hopes to restart production in the Gulf kingdom.


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