Jeddah — U.S. President Joe Biden will start an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday. This visit will be Biden’s first to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since taking office in 2021.
The U.S. President’s two-day visit comes at the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman.
During the visit, Biden will meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss collaboration between the two friendly nations. And the challenges facing the region and the world.
The Saudi visit aims to strengthen further the historical bilateral relations. And the distinguished strategic partnership between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and the common desire to develop them in all fields.
On Saturday, Biden will attend the first Arab-American Summit of its kind, convened by King Salman. The attendees at the summit will be GCC states leaders,
- The Jordanian King Abdullah II,
- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi,
- Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.
Biden will also hold meetings with these regional leaders before the summit.
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U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced on Wednesday that Biden would meet King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the deputy prime minister in Saudi Arabia.
Sullivan confirmed that a “bilateral program” would be held on Friday night when Biden arrives in Saudi Arabia. The program hosted by King Salman and the Crown Prince will include other ministers in the Saudi government.
Sullivan revealed that Biden would hold bilateral meetings with several regional leaders before the upcoming summit and declined to give a sequence of these meetings.
When asked to give an overview of what Biden will say at the GCC +3 Summit, Sullivan said, “the president will give broad and strong statements and strategy about his approach to the Middle East.”
He noted Biden would discuss security, the economy, and America’s historic role in the region. President Biden will also expand on his commitment to the Middle East.
Expanding the bilateral relations and strategic partnership
Analysts believe that the U.S. president has realized that it is time to break the deadlock in Saudi-US relations. Relations between the two historically friendly countries were not good since Biden’s first day at the White House.
Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his upcoming summit in Jeddah are in the interests of the United States in medium and strategic terms.
They added that the region has become more strategically important to America and the West, with the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which has entered its fifth month, and the failure of nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Arab – U.S. military pacts expected
Expectations are that Biden’s visit will see the signing of military agreements between Washington and some Arab countries.
The deal will ensure the security of these Arab countries and the Arab region in general. Additionally, the meetings will discuss other vital issues concerning Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, and Sudan.
Analysts said Biden would seek to clarify the American vision and reassure the Arab countries on the Iranian nuclear agreement.
A few days ago, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed his country’s readiness to return to the nuclear deal, provided that Iran lived up to its commitments.
Price said, “If Iran does not respond to negotiations, the chances of reaching an agreement will decrease.” He stressed the need for Iran to return to the nuclear agreement before Tehran acquires a nuclear bomb.
Leaders of the ruling Democratic Party confirmed the paramount significance that the American administration attaches to the region. Especially in light of the global energy crisis.
At the upcoming US-Gulf summit, the countries represented are heavyweights in the region, seeking to coordinate their positions and cooperate against any threat.
The Iran case
Iran features as a significant and fundamental question in the Middle East talks. Especially in relation to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Palestine.
Biden’s declared Iran policy has centered around the return to the nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, where he was the vice president.
The agreement stipulated that Iran would be subject to monitoring its nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions.
Still, The two parties have made no significant progress since Biden took office. Negotiations between the United States, major powers, and Iran broke down in Vienna months ago.
However, it is interesting to note that quick talks between Washington and Tehran took place in Doha before Biden’s visit.
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Indeed, the Doha negotiations did not bring about anything. However, it came as a reminder that the door for dialogue between the two parties is still open, and the possibility of returning to the agreement is still in place.
Biden’s visit to the Middle East that kicked off in Israel on Wednesday bears hopes of reuniting the region’s countries to confront common challenges, especially Iran’s nuclear program, which poses an existential threat to more than one country.
Biden’s visit provides an opportunity for convergence of views on other files, including oil supplies, in light of the Russian war on Ukraine.
Questions remain about the extent of this visit’s effect on ‘forcing’ Tehran to review its nuclear program negotiations and return to the 2015 agreement.
Analysts believe that the pressure on Tehran must be besieged externally and internally. A single variable will not work alone.
Biden leans towards a two-state solution
Biden during his visit to Israel, Biden said,
“I still see that the two-state solution is the best way, and for this reason, we will discuss my continued support for the two-state solution.
Although I know it is not within your terms, it is still, in my view, the best solution for a future of equal standards of peace, democracy, and prosperity for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.”