Biden news latest: President greets MBS with fist bump as Rep Ilhan Omar says Saudi trip sends ‘wrong message’


Biden says US would use force as ‘last resort’ to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons

Joe Biden has landed in Jeddah after making a historic flight as the first US president to fly direct from Israel to Saudi Arabia.

The visit includes a highly-anticipated meeting with the Saudi king and crown prince and comes amid tensions over energy supply, civil liberties, and security cooperation. Rep Ilhan Omar says the trip “sends the wrong message to everyone who cares about human rights”.

The trip is designed to reset the US’ relationship with a country he once pledged to make a “pariah” on the world stage. Ahead of the visit, Israel and Saudi Arabia took an important step towards normalising relations with an agreement on flights and Red Sea islands.

Before flying to Jeddah, the president attempted to repair ties with Palestinians as he reaffirmed US support for “two states for two peoples”. However, he acknowledged that the “ground is not ripe” to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Mr Biden also announced just over $300m in aid to the Palestinians and commitments from Israel to roll out 4G in the West Bank and improve freedom of movement.

After meeting Palestinian authority president Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Mr Biden also visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.


Washington Post publisher calls fist bump ‘shameful’

Fred Ryan, Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, has joined the chorus of condemnation President Joe Biden is facing for his fist bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The fist bump between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman was worse than a handshake–it was shameful. It projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking.


Saudi Press Agency posts photos of Biden talks


Biden to address reporters at 3.30pm ET


Biden departs palace after almost three hours

President Joe Biden has departed the Al Salam Royal Palace after two hours and fifty minutes of talks with Saudi leaders.

His next event will be tomorrow when he attends the Gulf Cooperation Council +3 summit, comprising of the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, plus Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt.


Biden fist bumps Saudi crown prince

The much-anticipated meeting between Joe Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began shortly after the US president touched down in Jeddah on the next leg of his Middle East tour.

On arrival at the Al Salam Royal Palace on Friday, Mr Biden emerged from the “the Beast” and fist-bumped the crown prince who stood ready to greet him.


Saudi state TV broadcasts footage of Biden meeting King Salman


Why Biden change his mind about making Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah nation’?

Joe Biden could not have been any clearer.

The administration of Donald Trump, it was put to him by a questioner, had failed to punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. If anything, it had cemented its ties, with Trump bowing before the Saudi king to receive a heavy and pendulous gold necklace, the Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud no less.

If he was president, what would Biden do? Would he punish the Saudi leaders?

“Yes. And I said at the time, Khashoggi was in fact murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince [Mohammed bin Salman],” he said with no small steel to his voice.

“I would make it very clear, we were not going to sell more weapons to them. We are going to make them pay the price, and make them in fact, the pariah that they are.”

Andrew Buncombe reports for The Independent.


Khashoggi fiancé posts what she believes he would tweet today

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancé of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has tweeted out what she believes he would have posted having seen President Joe Biden meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Hey POTUS, Is this the accountability you promised for my murder? The blood of MBS’s next victim is on your hands.”


Will Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia affect US gas prices?

As Joe Biden embarked on a multi-issue mission to the Middle East, his first as president, one persistent problem for his administration was weighing heavily both on the minds of White House staff and the media: oil prices.

What are the prospects for any material impact at the pump?


As Biden visits Saudi Arabia, many still targeted by official clampdown

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reputation as a brazen leader who has ruthlessly silenced critics and dissent will cast a shadow over his meeting on Friday with US President Joe Biden.

The royal has sidelined top princes who could pose a threat and overseen Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. The 2018 killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul still looms large — though the prince is credited with pushing through once-unthinkable changes, allowing women to drive and travel freely, permitting concerts, opening movie theaters and de-fanging the once-feared religious police.


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