Biden defends decision to visit Saudi Arabia, says rights are on his agenda

Published July 10, 2022
<p>US President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order to help safeguard women’s access to abortion and contraception after the Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v Wade decision that legalised abortion, at the White House in Washington, US on July 8, 2022. —Reuters</p>

US President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order to help safeguard women’s access to abortion and contraception after the Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v Wade decision that legalised abortion, at the White House in Washington, US on July 8, 2022. —Reuters

President Joe Biden on Saturday defended his decision to travel to Saudi Arabia saying human rights would be on his agenda as he gave a preview of a trip on which he aims to reset ties with the crown prince, who he previously denounced as a pariah.

Biden will hold bilateral talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his leadership team, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his visit to the Middle East next week.

The Crown Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, was believed to be behind the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist and political opponent Jamal Khashoggi, according to the US intelligence community.

Read: Honeymoon over? Saudi Arabia-US ties face reset with Biden win

In a commentary published in the Washington Post late on Saturday, Biden said his aim was to reorient and not rupture relations with a country that has been a US strategic partner for 80 years.

"I know that there are many who disagree with my decision to travel to Saudi Arabia. My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad," Biden wrote.

Biden needs oil-rich Saudi Arabia's help at a time of high gasoline prices and as he encourages efforts to end the war in Yemen after the Saudis recently extended a ceasefire there. The United States also wants to curb Iran's influence in the Middle East and China's global sway.

Opinion

Editorial

Spy games
Updated 02 Oct, 2022

Spy games

The audios leaked so far appear to have been carefully curated: they apply pressure but do not do major damage.
‘Geopolitical football’
02 Oct, 2022

‘Geopolitical football’

THE US-China rivalry is by all measures one of the globe’s most dangerous competitions for power and influence. ...
Fuel price reduction
02 Oct, 2022

Fuel price reduction

ISHAQ Dar is back; so are his signature policies. The reduction of a little over 5pc in fuel prices announced by him...
Untruths and politics
Updated 01 Oct, 2022

Untruths and politics

It would arguably be in the national interest for the Supreme Court to take up the cipher and settle the matter.
Farmers’ protest
01 Oct, 2022

Farmers’ protest

SEVERAL hundred farmers have converged on Islamabad for the last three days to protest against the soaring costs of...
Dasht-i-Barchi bombing
01 Oct, 2022

Dasht-i-Barchi bombing

ON Friday morning, Kabul’s Dasht-i-Barchi neighbourhood was rocked by a terrorist attack targeting an educational...