Joe Biden begins Middle East tour, meets Saudi Crown Prince
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US President Joe Biden begins Middle East tour, meets Saudi Crown Prince

US President Joe Biden begins Middle East tour, meets Saudi Crown Prince

The Saudi Crown Prince and US President chaired a meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah

Zubina Ahmed
Joe Biden meets Saudi Crown Prince

US President Joe Biden touched down the Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on July 13 to begin the first leg of his Middle East tour.

He spent the first two days in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli leaders before he meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, July 15. After that, he visited Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit to the region. 

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid welcomed Biden in a state ceremony at the airport in the presence of president Isaac Herzog, alternate PM Naftali Bennett and additional dignitaries.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan were part of the delegation. Lapid welcomed Biden by saying, “This is both a historic visit, and a deeply personal one. It is historic because it expresses the unbreakable bond between our two countries.”


He added that during the visit, both countries will discuss matters of national security. “We will discuss building a new security and economy architecture with the nations of the Middle East, following the Abraham Accords and the achievements of the Negev Summit. And we will discuss the need to renew a strong global coalition that will stop the Iranian nuclear programme.”

Earlier on Friday July 15, Biden met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, where he announced an aid of $201m for the UN agency serving Palestinian refugees.

Later in the day, the US president met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and attended a summit of the GCC with the leaders of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. The Saudi Crown Prince and the US President chaired a meeting at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.

In a White House statement on July 14, Biden hailed Saudi Arabia’s decision to open airspace for all civilian carriers, adding that he will be the first to embark on this historic journey. Saudi Arabia said it would open its airspace to all airlines, a change that is part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to improve relations in the Middle East.

Read: Saudi Arabia opens airspace to all carriers

On July 14, the heads of Government of India, Israel, the UAE and the US, convened for the first leaders’ meeting of the ‘I2U2’ Group.  “This unique grouping of countries aims to harness the vibrancy of our societies and entrepreneurial spirit to tackle some of the greatest challenges confronting our world, with a particular focus on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security,” the statement added.

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