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Joint Saudi, US statement sees vital agreements, action plan to tackle global issues

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US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has led to a series of vital agreements in future industries and action plans to tackle dominant regional and international issues.

That’s according to a joint statement released by the two countries following a lengthy meeting between the American president and the Saudi leadership.

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The meeting, which included the presence of high-ranking officials, covered topic areas including energy security, climate cooperation, security and defense, technology, and regional considerations.

At the outset, the statement clarified that the US-Saudi partnership has been a “cornerstone of regional security over decades,” adding that both countries share the vision of a “secure, stable, and prosperous region, interconnected with the world.”

Noting the shared historic ties, both countries welcomed extending the validity of business and tourism visas to 10 years to facilitate greater social ties and economic cooperation.

Energy

In consideration of the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing energy issue, both sides reportedly decided to consult regularly on global energy markets in the near- and long-term, in addition to collaborating as strategic partners in climate and energy transition initiatives, “recognizing Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the future of energy.”

The US appreciated the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative, and welcomed Saudi Arabia’s participation at the recent Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate. This is line with the Kingdom’s goal to meet 50 percent of its electricity generation from renewables by 2030.

This is in addition to finalizing the Partnership Framework for Advancing Clean Energy, which will see substantial investments in clean energy transition and addressing climate change, with particular focus on renewable energy, clean hydrogen, human capacity-building in the nuclear energy field, and more.

The US and Saudi Arabia will also aim to invest in projects that support digital connectivity, supply chain sustainability, and climate and energy security focused on low- and middle-income countries as part of a global infrastructure push, the statement said.

Security and defense

The US strongly affirmed its commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial defense, importantly, facilitating the Kingdom’s ability to obtain necessary capabilities to defend its people and territory against external threats, the joint statement said.

The two countries also highlighted the need to deter Iran’s interference “in the internal affairs of other countries, its support for terrorism through its armed proxies, and its efforts to destabilize the security and stability of the region,” according to the statement.

Crucially, both countries agreed on the importance of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear arms.

To improve and streamline the exchange of information in the maritime domain, cooperation between the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and Combined Task Force 153 will supposedly be enhanced in the coordination center led out of the US Fifth Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain.

Also welcoming the next Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial meeting to be held in Saudi Arabia in early 2023, both countries underscored the importance of confronting terrorism and violent extremism.

Focus lied on countering al-Qaeda and ISIS, by stemming the flow of foreign fighters, countering violent extremist propaganda, and cutting off terrorist financing streams, the statement said.

The countries stressed on the need for the global coalition to continue its work and “make long-term and multi-year efforts to return both detained ISIS fighters and the tens of thousands of ISIS family members from northeastern Syria to their home countries,” according to the joint statement.

Vision 2030

The US welcomed and appreciated Saudi Arabia’s vision that will continue to see economic and social reforms under the Vision 2030 banner.

This includes efforts to increase women’s economic participation and promote interfaith dialogue, in addition to increasing Saudi investments in the American private sector.

The US also welcomed Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the World Expo 2030, which was last held in the neighboring UAE emirate of Dubai.

Cooperation agreements in the field of tech, telecommunication, space, cybersecurity and public health were also signed.

Regional and international issues

Yemen

Both the US and Saudi Arabia expressed their unwavering support for the UN-backed truce in Yemen that is currently seeking to be transformed into a lasting peace agreement.

US President Biden expressed his appreciation for the role King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played in achieving the truce, according to the joint statement.

Both sides also renewed their call to the international community to stand united in the face of threats brought on by the Iran-backed Houthis, while simultaneously calling on the group to return to peace talks that can help reverse a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The two countries reiterated their support for Yemen’s leadership council, a crucial political change in the country’s current socio-economic scene, that recently helped restart fuel imports and flights from Sanaa.

The Taiz blockade continued to be of concern since it impedes the flow of essential goods and aid delivery inside Yemen’s third largest city that has been under siege since 2015.

A provision in the truce agreement for the militants to ease their siege of Yemen’s third-biggest city Taiz has yet to be implemented, and the government has demanded roads to the city be opened.

Iraq

US President Biden welcomed the leading role of the Kingdom in strengthening relations with Iraq, which will link its electricity network to Saudi Arabia under a historic agreement that was signed on the margins of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit on July 16.

Israel, Palestinian conflict

Both countries “welcomed all efforts that contribute to reaching a just and comprehensive peace in the region,” according to the statement on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

They reportedly underscored their commitment to a two-state solution wherein “a sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state lives side-by-side in peace and security with Israel.”

Syria

Both countries underscored the importance of preventing renewed violence, maintaining established ceasefires, and to allow the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to all Syrians in need.

The two sides also expressed their support for the efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to reach a political solution to the conflict consistent with the formula outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015).

Lebanon

Saudi Arabia and the US emphasized the importance of the control of the government of Lebanon over its territory, while expressing their continued support “for Lebanon’s sovereignty, security and stability, and their support for the Lebanese Armed Forces that protect its borders and resist the threats of violent extremist and terrorist groups,” according to the statement.

A working government with a comprehensive political and economic reform implementation plan would help overcome the crisis in Lebanon and ensure that it does not become a “launching point for terrorists, drug smuggling, or other criminal activities that threatens the stability and security of the region,” the statement said.

Ukraine

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to providing critical assistance to the Ukrainian people, while calling on solutions to ensure unhindered export of grain and wheat products to alleviate the global food crises, which threaten to acutely impact a number of Middle Eastern and African states.

Afghanistan

The two sides underscored the importance of continued humanitarian support in the Taliban-run country, while promoting the rights of the Afghan people including the rights of women and girls to education and availability of the highest attainable standard of health and, for women, the right to work.

Libya

“Both sides affirmed their support for the Libyan people as they engage in the UN-brokered political process to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible,” the statement said.

They reportedly expressed their “full support” for the Libyan ceasefire agreement and the Libyan call for the complete departure of foreign forces, foreign fighters, and mercenaries without further delay, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2570 (2021).

Sudan

The two countries also highlighted the importance of dialogue between Sudanese parties and wishes the people peace and prosperity.

The joint statement concluded with: “The two sides decided to expand and strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas discussed in this meeting, prior to the next annual Strategic Dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the United States to be held in the Kingdom later this year. This Jeddah Communique should form the basis of work going forward to consolidate and enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries.”

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