US President Joe Biden to head to Saudi Arabia

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President Joe Biden will discuss energy supply, human rights, and security cooperation in Saudi Arabia on Friday on a trip designed to reset the US relationship with the Kingdom.

Biden will hold meetings with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, along with other government officials, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

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At the start of Biden's trip to the Middle East, officials said he would avoid close contacts, such as shaking hands, as a precaution against COVID-19. But the president ended up engaging in hand-shaking in Israel.

“The president's going to meet about a dozen leaders and he'll greet them as he usually does,” the administration official said.

Vehicles drive past American and Saudi Arabian flags prior to a visit by U. S. President Joe Biden, at a square in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, July 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Vehicles drive past American and Saudi Arabian flags prior to a visit by U. S. President Joe Biden, at a square in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, July 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The US is eager to see Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ partners pump more oil to help bring down the high cost of gasoline and ease the highest US inflation in four decades.

“The Saudis definitely are intending to boost capacity and with oil prices so high they have the wherewithal to do that, particularly as they see production constraints elsewhere in a market that is still growing,” said Daniel Yergin, S&P Global vice chairman and an expert in world energy markets.

Biden will encourage peace and press for a more integrated Middle East during his trip, the official said.

“We will be covering a host of bilateral and regional issues, really capping many months of diplomacy and positioning the United States and our partners for the future in a manner that advances our interests and theirs,” he said.

Topics include strengthening a truce in the war in Yemen, “balance” in energy markets and technological cooperation in 5G and 6G,” he said.

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