United States President, Joe Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday from Israel. He was greeted with a fist bump by Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS). It is the first time Biden will visit the country since his Presidency.
A critic of the oil-rich country, Biden does not have a pleasant relation with Saudi. Until the visit, there was no communication between Biden and MBS. Recall that Biden had threatened to treat Saudi as a “Pariah” over the killing of Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi and the UAE had also refused to speak with Biden when Russia launched a war against Ukraine.
Unlike his welcome in Israel, Biden was received with a subdued welcome at Jeddah airport without ceremonies like he did in Israel. He was greeted by Mecca’s governor, Prince Khalid bin Faisal, and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Reema bint Bandar Al Saud.
The purpose of the trip revolved around US relationship with Riyadh; energy supply, human rights and security cooperation.
“He’s intent on ensuring that there is not a vacuum in the Middle East for China and Russia to fill, that American leadership and American engagement will be a feature of US policy in this region, and that we intend to play a critical role in this strategically vital region on an ongoing basis,” US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan commented on Biden’s visit.
Prior to the visit, Saudi announced that it will open it’s airspace to all air carriers including Israel. This came two years after UAE and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel.