The 6 things President Biden said he discussed with the Saudi royal family
Regarding the death of Jamal Khashoggi: “I raised it at the top of the meeting making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now,” Biden said
President Joe Biden met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, greeting him with a fist-bump after his arrival at Al-Salam palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Friday. The president met with the crown prince and other members of the royal family for three hours, leading to six key points or initiatives, the president said.
- Saudi Arabia will open its airspace to all civilian carriers, including flights to and from Israel, which will hopefully open the door to better relations between the countries. “That is a big deal. A big deal,” Biden said.
- The U.S. and Saudi Arabia concluded a deal to create peace in a flashpoint area in the Middle East wars. International peacekeepers and U.S. troops will leave Tiran Island where they have been since the Camp David Accords. Tiran Island will now be open to tourism and economic development. Biden noted the five U.S. soldiers who died on Tiran Island in 2020 from a tragic helicopter crash.
- Saudi Arabia and the U.S. will work together to deepen and extend the Yemen cease-fire that the president said has created its most peaceful period in seven years. The Saudi government agreed to deliver food and humanitarian goods to Yemen civilians.
- Biden said Saudi Arabia will invest in new U.S.-led technology for reliable 5G and 6G networks that will outcompete other networks from China. Saudi Arabia has agreed to partner with the U.S. on a clean energy initiative focused on green hydrogen, solar, carbon capture, nuclear and other clean energy projects.
- The U.S. and Saudi Arabia discussed global energy security and oil supply, and Biden said he is hopeful that progress will be made to help with U.S. and global economic stability. “I’m doing all I can to increase supply to the United States of America, which I expect to happen,” Biden said.
- Biden said he brought up the issue of human rights and political reform specifically in regard to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist who wrote for The Washington Post. “I raised it at the top of the meeting making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now,” Biden said. “I made my view 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.’ I’ll always stand up for our values.”
Saturday Biden will meet with nine leaders from around the region for more talks to discuss the multibillion dollar commitment with the Gulf Cooperation Council to invest in a partnership for global infrastructure and investment. The Biden administration has finalized a plan to connect Iraq’s electric grid to the council through Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in an effort to strengthen Iraq’s ties to the region and reduce its dependence on Iran, something Biden has worked toward since his days as vice president.
Biden concluded his statements before taking questions from the press by stating, “this trip is about once again positioning America and this region for the future. We are not going to leave a vacuum in the Middle East for Russia or China to fill. And we are getting results.”