Prior to his election, Joe Biden ruled that Saudi Arabia should be treated as a state “Pariah” due to the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Joe Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia this month to meet Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salmane, returning to his promise to treat the kingdom in “Pariah” and not to exchange with the controversial leader, the New York Times. Speculation about such a move in June was going well, but according to the American daily, it is now done: the president of the United States “Decided to go to Riyadh this month to rebuild relations with the oil kingdom as it seeks to bring down oil prices in its country and isolate Russia on the international stage.”
On site, “He will meet Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salmane”, nicknamed “MBS”, and other leaders of Arab countries including Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, the newspaper added. He clarified that the logistical details and timetable had yet to be confirmed, but that the visit would be in addition to a trip already planned for late June in Europe and Israel. CNN also reported that preparations for such a meeting were well under way. “The president is looking forward to the opportunity to talk to Middle Eastern leaders, but I have nothing to announce today.” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Prior to his election, Joe Biden ruled that Saudi Arabia should be treated as a state “Pariah” due to the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Once in power, the Democrat released in February 2021 the US intelligence report accusing “MBS” of having “Validated” the murder. Washington had then mentioned one “Recalibration” of the relationship with this strategic Gulf partner, to turn the page on the close proximity of Donald Trump’s presidency without going to the break. Joe Biden’s entourage explained that the president would speak only to King Salmane and not to the prince, a privileged interlocutor of his Republican predecessor.
The United States has also stepped up its efforts to end the war in Yemen, where Riyadh is militarily supporting the government against Houthis rebels. The decision to relocate to Saudi Arabia, if confirmed, comes at a time when the international community has snatched the two-month renewal of a fragile truce in Yemen. Joe Biden on Thursday praised the “courageous leadership” of Saudi leaders in this regard. It also intervened as OPEC +, a cartel of oil-exporting countries led by Riyadh, decided on Thursday to boost production after months of waiting despite soaring prices, also responding to calls from Westerners.