RIYADH: US President Joe Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday, the latest stop on his first Middle East tour as US leader, where he met with the Kingdom’s leadership.
In a speech made from his Jeddah hotel on Friday evening, Biden said he had held “important discussions” with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
He praised the role the Kingdom played in the “stabilization” of Yemen and its support of a UN-brokered ceasefire, adding: “I agreed with the Saudi leadership to deepen and extend it.”
Biden announced that peacekeeping forces in Tiran and Sanafir will leave their positions, which he said would contribute to the development of the islands for investments and tourism.
He added that Saudi Arabia’s security needs and global energy issues were also discussed, including cooperation on clean energy initiatives.
Biden arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on the third day of a four-day swing through the Middle East, where he was received by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and the Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar.
He then met with the king, where they reviewed the historical relations between Saudi Arabia and the US and ways to strengthen them to serve the interests of the two countries in various fields, the official Saudi Press News Agency reported.
He spent the first two days meeting with Israeli officials and traveled to the West Bank on Friday to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and others before flying to Saudi Arabia.
Biden also met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al-Salam Palace, where they also discussed aspects of bilateral cooperation in a number of fields, and ways to confront regional and international challenges.
The talks were attended by Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Minister of Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar, and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, along with a number of other senior officials.
Saudi Arabia, US ink 18 agreements
The Saudi ministers of energy, investment, communications and health have concluded 18 agreements with their US counterparts.
The agreements unlock new avenues for joint cooperation in investment, energy, information and communications technology, space and health.
They align with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, which seeks investment opportunities in promising sectors.
Thirteen of the agreements, signed during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Kingdom, were made with the Ministry of Investment, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, and numerous private sector companies.
They include a group of leading American companies such as Boeing Aerospace, Raytheon Defense Industries, Medtronic and Digital Diagnostics, IKVIA in the healthcare sector, and many other US companies in the energy, tourism, education, manufacturing and textiles sectors.
The Saudi Space Authority signed the Artemis Accords with NASA, allowing for joint exploration of the Moon and Mars.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology signed a memorandum of cooperation with IBM to upskill 100,000 young women and men over five years within eight initiatives that can position the Kingdom as a hub for technology and innovation in the Middle East and North Africa.