White House: Biden will travel to the Middle East in July

“From the early days of our administration, we’ve made it clear that US policy has demanded a recalibration of relations with this important country, but not a rupture,” the official said. This is because we have important overlapping interests with Saudi Arabia.

The administration is already defending the emerging narrative that Biden’s trip could be seen as leaving Saudi Arabia in a bind. In a 2019 Democratic presidential debate, Biden said he would make the Saudis “pay the price” for Khashoggi’s murder and “actually make them pariahs as they are.”

The official pointed to the administration’s release of an intelligence report that concluded that bin Salman approved the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder in 2018, and to the State Department’s subsequent unveiling of a new policy called the Khashoggi ban, which allows the United States to restrict visas to those who persecute journalists and dissidents. . The official said that the United States used the embargo several times to impose sanctions on more than 70 Saudi individuals and entities, noting that these sanctions were imposed while rebuilding relations with the country.

“Human rights are always part of the conversation,” the senior administration official said. “The president is not going to change his views on human rights. He has made it clear. He has also made it clear that as President of the United States, his job is to ‘bring peace if you can’ … and our entire national security team is focused on getting things done for the American people.”

John Kirby, the coordinator of strategic communications at the National Security Council, told MSNBC on Tuesday that the issue of oil production “certainly … will be part of” Biden’s talks with Saudi officials. Kirby said the war in Yemen and “Iran’s destabilizing behavior” would also be topics of discussion.

Kirby indicated that it is likely that Biden will meet face to face with the Saudi crown prince during his visit, during which Biden will hold bilateral meetings with King Salman and his team. “Of course, the Crown Prince is on this team, so I suspect he will definitely meet the Crown Prince in the course of these meetings,” Kirby said.

“Biden once again looks forward to a wide range of discussions,” Kirby continued. “And obviously, look, human rights is something we bring up with partners and friends and people around the world every time we meet. It’s a core component of the president’s foreign policy. He believes that foreign policy should be rooted in our values. Human rights are obviously going to come As part of that discussion.”

But Kirby refused to commit to Biden raising the issue of Khashoggi’s murder with the crown prince, saying, “I will not preempt individual discussions that the president will have.”

Kirby asserted that Biden had “accounted for Saudi Arabia through a series of actions,” including the issuance of an intelligence report incriminating the crime. He spoke forcefully about it. I don’t want to pre-empt individual discussions, but it is clear that human rights are always on the agenda when we meet with our counterparts around the world,” Kirby said.

In Saudi Arabia, Biden will participate in a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. The official said the White House would announce more details about Biden’s additional meetings.

Biden also plans to discuss a UN-led truce in Yemen. Means to expand “regional economic and security cooperation”, for example through infrastructure and climate initiatives; persistent security threats from Iran; and ensuring global food and energy security as the Russian war in Ukraine destabilizes global oil markets.

Before traveling to the kingdom, Biden will meet with Israeli leaders in Israel to discuss security and the nation’s integration in the region. He will then travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders “to consult with the Palestinian Authority and affirm his strong support for a two-state solution, with equal measures of security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people,” the administration official said.

Leave a Comment