US President Biden invites UAE president to visit Washington

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US President Joe Biden on Saturday invited his Emirati counterpart, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, to visit the United States, a friendly gesture after months of strained ties over the Ukraine war and other issues.

“We both understand that the challenges we face today only make it a heck of a lot more important that we spend more time together. And I want to formally invite you to the States,” Biden said after the two men met on the sidelines of a gathering of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia.

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Biden specified he was inviting Sheikh Mohamed to the White House -- “the Oval” -- and said he wanted the visit to happen “before this year is out”.

Sheikh Mohamed took office in May following the death of former UAE President Sheikh Khalifa.

The wealthy Gulf state hosts US troops and has been a strategic partner to Washington for decades.

Sheikh Mohamed's political adviser, Anwar Gargash, told journalists Friday that US-Emirati ties were “in a good place” but that there were issues “we need to resolve”.

After meeting with Saudi leaders Friday, Biden is trying to use Saturday's summit as an opportunity to outline his vision for Washington's role in the region.

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