Sat, 13 August 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

Biden meets with Saudi Crown Prince during his visit to Saudi Arabia

Update : 16 Jul 2022, 10:14

US President Joe Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia after two days in Israel and met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the country's capital, Jeddah, on Friday.

Ahead of Biden's visit, Saudi Arabia said it would open its airspace to all aircraft to and from Israel.

It was the first encounter for the two leaders. Biden insisted that he did not shy away from pressing the Crown Prince on the kingdom’s abuses, particularly the 2018 murder of the U.S.-based writer Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence believes was approved by Crown Prince.

"I raised it at the top of the meeting," Biden said of the case of Khashoggi, "making it clear what I thought of it at the time, and what I think of it now."

"I was straightforward and direct in discussing it. I made my new crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am," he added.

While mentioning the response of the Crown Prince, Biden said, "He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated that I thought he was." 

Three years ago, Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state over the assassination of Khashoggi and alleged human rights abuses. Now, Biden landed in the same country with oil, human rights, Iran and Israel on his agenda. 

Footage by the state television Al-Ekhbariya showed Biden was greeted by Prince Mohammed with a fist bump. The US President was then escorted into Al-Salam palace. 

During the meeting, they discussed energy among other topics. He said that he expected to see "further steps" from Saudi on energy in the coming weeks. 

A joint statement by Saudi state news agency (SPA) said the US and Saudi Arabia agreed on the importance of preventing Iran from “acquiring nuclear weapons” during Biden’s visit.

Biden emphasized his country’s strong and enduring commitment to support the security and defense of the oil-rich kingdom, the statement said.

Both countries also stressed the need to stop Iran from interfering in the internal affairs of countries, supporting terrorism through its affiliated armed groups and destabilizing the security and stability of the region.

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