Biden defends his decision to travel to Saudi Arabia and says that rights are on the agenda

WASHINGTON -- Saturday's President Joe Biden defended his decision not to travel to Saudi Arabia, stating that human rights were on his agenda.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
10 July 2022 Sunday 04:19
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Biden defends his decision to travel to Saudi Arabia and says that rights are on the agenda

WASHINGTON -- Saturday's President Joe Biden defended his decision not to travel to Saudi Arabia, stating that human rights were on his agenda. He also gave a preview for a trip in which he hopes to reestablish ties with the crown Prince, whom he had previously called a pariah.

Biden will have bilateral talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, his leadership team and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his next week's visit to the Middle East.

According to the U.S intelligence community, the Crown Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader was suspected to have been behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi (a Washington Post journalist) in 2018.

Biden stated that his goal was to reorient, not break relations with a country which has been a strategic partner of the U.S. for over 80 years in a Washington Post commentary.

"I am aware that many people disagree with my decision not to travel to Saudi Arabia. Biden stated that his views on human rights were clear and consistent. He also noted that fundamental freedoms are always a priority when he travels abroad.

Biden needs the support of oil-rich Saudi Arabia at a time when gasoline prices are high and as he urges the end to the war in Yemen, after the Saudis have extended a ceasefire. The United States wants Iran to be less influential in the Middle East, and China to have a greater global influence.

Biden claimed that Saudi Arabia had helped to restore unity between the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and had fully supported the ceasefire in Yemen. He also stated that Saudi Arabia was helping to stabilize oil markets along with other OPEC producers.

Biden stated that he would be the first President to fly from Israel, Saudi Arabia to Jeddah next week. This, he stated, would be a small sign of "budding relations" and "steps toward normalization" between Israel, the Arab world, and Israel.

"I will be first president to visit Middle East since 9/11 without U.S. soldiers engaged in combat missions there." Biden stated that it was his goal to keep the Middle East peaceful.

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