US President Joe Biden is on his first trip to West Asia and will visit Saudi Arabia and meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next month in a bid to repair and build on ties with one of Washington’s closest allies. The decision marks the end of his administration’s tough stance toward the country, over which ties have frayed in recent years because of human rights concerns.
The White House also ended the speculations regarding Biden’s visit to Israel and Palestinian West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. This will be his first trip from July 13-16 since taking office. This trips major political takeaway is rebuilding ties with Saudi Arabia as the Biden administration majorly blamed Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Poat columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
When Biden took office, he threatened to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” and to make it “pay a price.” He also directed the administration to issue an official report on the killing and to impose sanctions and visa restrictions on 70 Saudi nationals and entities.
In recent months, however, administration policy has been reshaped by strategic imperatives. Saudi Arabia, as chair of OPEC, is essential to maintaining a ceasefire with Yemen, and its decision on boosting oil production is crucial to stabilizing energy prices after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.