The US administration has denied a media report claiming that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, both declined requests to speak to President Joe Biden.
The Wall Street Journal quoted Middle East and US officials as saying that the White House has been unsuccessful in trying to arrange calls between Biden and the de facto leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as Washington works on building international support for Ukraine and contain a surge in oil prices.
According to US National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne, Biden did not try to call Bin Salman, but rather his father, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. The call actually took place on 9 February, she pointed out.
The newspaper’s report that both Bin Salman and Bin Zayed have rejected a call from President Biden is “completely wrong,” insisted Horne. “There were no problems in communication between President Biden and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and we look forward to a close contact between them.”
On Monday, the White House announced that there are no current plans for Joe Biden to visit Saudi Arabia or talk to Bin Salman. The announcement was made after reports in the US claiming that the US president’s advisers have been seeking to arrange such a visit to mend relations and persuade Riyadh to increase its oil production given the escalation of Russia’s war in Ukraine.