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Biden visits Saudi Arabia, announces US troops to vacate Red Sea Island

July 16, 2022 at 10:10 am

US President Joe Biden is welcomed at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on 15 July 2022 [MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]

US President Joe Biden made a statement on Friday evening after he met with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at Al-Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah. This came following a two-day visit to Israel and a few hours spent in the occupied West Bank.

Biden began his speech by stating: “Saudi Arabia’s historic decision to open its airspace for all civilian planes, including those flying to and from Israel, is an important step towards building a more integrated and stable Middle East region. While this opening has long been discussed, now, thanks to months of steady diplomacy between my administration and Saudi Arabia, it is finally a reality.”

Biden also noted that they discussed the truce in Yemen that began three months ago and that the Saudi authorities have agreed to its extension.

He also indicated that he spoke frankly about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and made his views: “Crystal clear, but the Saudi crown prince denied his personal responsibility for the killing of Khashoggi and confirmed that he had taken the necessary measures against those involved.”

READ: Biden’s visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank entrenches the humanitarian paradigm

Biden’s statement continued: “We had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth. And that will begin shortly.”

He added: “And after years of failed efforts, we have now finalised an agreement to connect Iraq’s electric grid to the GCC grids through Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and deepening Iraq’s integration into the region and reducing its dependence on Iran.”

“We concluded a historic deal to transform a flashpoint at the heart of the Middle East wars into an area of peace. International peacekeepers, including US troops, will leave Tiran Island in the Red Sea, where they’ve been for over 40 years since the Camp David Accords,” noted Biden.

Biden concluded: “We are not going to leave a vacuum in the Middle East for Russia or China to fill. And we’re getting results.”