Biden will fly directly to Saudi Arabia, where he will have highly anticipated bilateral meetings with Saudi King Salman and his advisors, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
According to Biden’s schedule, the Saudi monarch will only attend about 30 minutes of bilateral meetings on Friday evening, the White House confirmed Thursday. Due to the king’s health, the president and crown prince will continue to meet with them after the king leaves.
His decision to travel to Saudi Arabia and meet MBS has repeatedly defended by the president, who maintains that his administration leads the region and meets with Russia and China.
However, Biden’s decision to meet with MBS has highly scrutinized, and it represents a departure from the campaign’s pledge. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is consider a “Pariah” nation.
Biden and the west Bank
During his closely watched Middle East trip, Biden met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. In the meeting with the Palestinian leader, Biden continued to advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though he says such an arrangement is unlikely to materialize in the near future.
The vice president acknowledged after his meeting with Abbas that such an agreement “seems so far away” and that “the ground is not ripe at this moment for resuming negotiations.”
Israelis and Palestinians could, however, benefit from better relations between Israel and Arab nations.
“Now that Israel is improving relations with its neighbors throughout the region, we can use this momentum to rev up the Palestinian-Israeli peace process,” Biden said.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist who was fatally shot while covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank, was “an enormous loss to the essential work of sharing with the world the story of the Palestinian people.”