Biden defends in a long forum his trip to Saudi Arabia

Joe Biden, who is going to Saudi Arabia next week, wants to “strengthen a strategic partnership there that is based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while respecting fundamental American values”, he wrote in a column published on Saturday by Washington. Post.

In this detailed text, the American president, who goes to Israel on Tuesday and then to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Friday, responds to critics who accuse him of denying himself in order to extricate Saudi Arabia’s promise to produce more oil.

Joe Biden had, before his election, promised to make the oil monarchy a “outcast” international because of the assassination of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I know that many disagree with my decision to go to Saudi Arabia. My views on human rights are clear and enduring, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel, and they will be during this trip”assures the American president.

He recalls having declassified an explosive report by American intelligence concerning the circumstances of the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

But he does not mention in his column the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who according to this same report ” valid “ murder. Joe Biden is due to meet him in Jeddah next week, as part of an expanded meeting around King Salman.

“My job as president is to ensure the solidity and security of the country”justifies the 79-year-old Democrat, citing the need to ” to counter “ Russia, to get into the best position possible” against China and to ensure a “greater stability” in the Middle-East.

“To do these things, we need to have a direct relationship with the countries that can contribute. Saudi Arabia is one. explains Joe Biden again.

“In Saudi Arabia, we have reversed the blank check policy we inherited” of former President Donald Trump, says Joe Biden.

He specifies: “From the start, my aim has been to redirect – but not to sever – relations with a country that has been our strategic partner for 80 years”.

The American president also refers to an important issue of his trip: oil, at a time when high gas prices are exasperating Americans and hurting his party’s electoral prospects.

Ryad, he assures, “is working with my experts to help stabilize the oil market”. Washington would like all the Gulf countries to open the floodgates to lower prices.

Joe Biden first planned to meet with interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Then he will fly to Jeddah on Friday, the first direct link of this kind between the Jewish state and an Arab country which does not recognize its existence.

Donald Trump had already made this trip with a very strong symbolic dimension, but in the opposite direction.

The Middle East is “less under pressure and more integrated than eighteen months ago” upon his arrival at the White House, assures Joe Biden.

He mentions in particular the rapprochement between Israel and several Arab countries, started under the tutelage of the former Republican president. The Biden Administration “works to deepen and extend” this process, says the Democratic president.

Joe Biden wants ” make progress “ facing a region that remains “full of challenges”between the Iranian nuclear program, and the unstable situation in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon…

But he discerns none the less “promising trends” in the region, believing that “the United States can strengthen them like no other country can. This is what my trip will be for next week”.

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