Joe Biden: I will not meet with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.  I'm going to an international meeting he's going to attend

President Joe Biden seemed to downplay the significance of his upcoming controversial meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on Friday, insisting it would take place in an international context, writes AFP, taken over by Agerpres.

“I will not meet with MBS (the acronym used for Prince Mohammed bin Salman – no.). I am going to an international meeting, in which he will attend “, the American president wanted to nuance, at the insistence of the press, before boarding the helicopter that took him for the weekend to his villa on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

His twisted formula betrays the confusion of the White House leader, who is aware that his planned visit to the oil kingdom in mid-July will mark the prince’s international rehabilitation, largely isolated after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, AFP reports.

The American intelligence services accuse the Crown Prince of “validating” the assassination, in 2018, at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, editorialist at “The Washington Post”. Joe Biden had stated before his election to the White House that Saudi Arabia should be treated as an “outcast” state and had promised in the election campaign that he would refuse to speak directly to the MBS.

In fact, sSaudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington was renamed on Wednesday after Jamal Khashoggi, a brutally killed Saudi journalist, is commemorated a month before President Joe Biden’s controversial visit to the Persian Gulf kingdom. The ceremony took place just the day after the announcement of the US president’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July, when he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

A visit dictated by political pragmatism

The US president is due to meet with Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a scheduled trip to the Middle East in mid-July. The visit takes place in the context in which the American president wants to fight the record prices for gasoline sold in the USA.

Senior US officials have told Saudi Arabia that the United States is ready for a “reset” of the bilateral relationship, with Washington willing to go ahead with the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to repair ties with a key ally in Washington. The Middle East, in the conditions in which the price of oil risks reaching record levels, CNN reported a week ago.

Biden’s visit to the Saudi kingdom comes after the OPEC + group of oil-producing states, led by Saudi Arabia, agreed to increase production, in an attempt to restore a balance lost as a result of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow and to fight thus rising oil prices as well as rampant inflation.

The United States, meanwhile, is seeking to further isolate Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, urging Gulf states to publicly condemn Moscow, three Western diplomats quoted by Reuters told Reuters recently. The Gulf states have so far tried to maintain what they say is a neutral position, but some Western diplomats see this as a rather pro-Russian attitude.

Joe Biden will meet with regional leaders in Saudi Arabia, including Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, as part of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit, according to the White House. Washington has proposed an agenda that includes regional security, food security, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and energy issues, a Gulf source told the meeting.

The idea of ​​a meeting with the Crown Prince divided the members of the Biden administration, with many preferring the Saudi kingdom to be kept at bay after former President Donald Trump’s remarkably close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which angered human rights defenders. man. But supporters of close ties with Riyadh eventually prevailed, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The impact of the conflict on oil and gas prices has heightened the Biden administration’s concerns, as Saudi Arabia has remained deaf to Washington’s repeated calls to increase its oil production. A meeting with the controversial Prince Mohammed bin Salman was ultimately seen as a necessary act of pragmatism to reduce energy prices and inflation. But it is not at all clear whether this move will substantially lower the price of oil, the daily wrote earlier this month. The Washington Post.

Editor: Luana Pavaluca

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