Portland News

Biden’s Decision to Take a Trip to Saudi Arabia Met With Criticism

Biden's trip to Israel to be followed by a stop to Saudi Arabia
Biden's trip to Israel to be followed by a stop to Saudi Arabia

Biden announced that he will be visiting Saudi Arabia next month in order to negotiate with leaders over their foreign policy. This comes on the heels of his campaign pledge to make them “a pariah.”

Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Middle East this July, where he plans on stopping at Israel and meeting with regional leaders at the Saudi Port City. In addition, he is expected to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The President looks forward to outlining his affirmative vision for US engagement in the region over the coming months and years,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades.”

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The trip to Saudi Arabia had been planned for months with US officials consulting their Israeli and Saudi counterparts. Originally, the President was set visit this month but the G7 and NATO Summits in Europe prompted the trip to be pushed to Mid-July. The White House previously denied any plans for the trip following some speculations.

“We’re now in a place where we feel this has come together in a very constructive way for everyone involved, and the President’s looking forward to it,” said a senior administration official.

During his visit in July, Biden will view US-provided sporting systems and meet athletes participating in an international Jewish event. He also plans on discussing prospects for restarting peace talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

It is still unclear whether the President will have a one-on-one meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, but they are expected to have an engagement.

Some of Biden’s allies have criticized the trip and plans to meet Prince Mohammed after approval because of the prospect of the President going back on his promise to make Saudi Arabia pay for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The decision did not sit well with Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who accused the President of losing his moral compass and said:

“President Biden’s decision to meet MBS is horribly upsetting to me and supporters of freedom and justice everywhere.”

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Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.