US ‘not going anywhere,’ will remain engaged partner in Middle East: Biden

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US President Joe Biden said on Saturday the United States would remain an active, engaged partner in the Middle East to leaders gathered at the Jeddah Security and Development Summit.

“The United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you - and the United States is not going anywhere,” Biden told the Arab leaders in a speech to kick off the summit.

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Biden is seeking to start a new chapter in US involvement in the Middle East, hoping to move past US military conflicts and instead push for a region that respects individual nations’ domestic affairs but seeks economic integration and shared defenses amid concerns over Iran.

Biden also told the summit US is committed to ensuring Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.

Biden, on his first Middle East trip as president, attended a planned summit with six Gulf states and Egypt, Jordan and Iraq after meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday.

Biden came to Saudi Arabia hoping to strike a deal on oil production to help drive down gasoline prices that are driving inflation to more than 40-year highs and pummeling his poll numbers.

However, he will leave the region empty handed and is hoping his diplomatic efforts here will push the OPEC+ group to boost production when they meet on August 3.

“I look forward to seeing what’s coming in the coming months,” Biden said.

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