Despite human rights criticism: Biden is considering a trip to Saudi Arabia

Despite human rights criticism: Biden is considering a trip to Saudi Arabia

Published on 03.06.2018

  • US President Joe Biden could soon travel to Saudi Arabia. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP/dpa

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Does the US President make a detour during his visits to Israel and Europe? Riyadh is an important partner when it comes to oil – and according to US secret services, approved the murder of a journalist.

Washington.

Against the background of dramatically high energy prices, US President Joe Biden is considering a visit to Saudi Arabia, in his own words – despite his criticism of human rights abuses in the kingdom.

“I’m not sure I’m going,” Biden said in Rehoboth, Delaware. “I don’t have any direct plans at the moment. We’re looking at that.” The “New York Times”, on the other hand, reported, citing government circles, that Biden had already decided to travel to Riyadh. He will also meet the highly controversial Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman there.

There are talks of coupling the visit with visits to Israel and Europe later this month, the newspaper continued. In Germany, Biden will take part in the summit of the G7 countries in Elmau at the end of June, after which he will travel to the NATO summit in Madrid. Saudi Arabia has traditionally been a close US ally and one of the world’s top oil exporters.

Biden: “Make peace when I can”

Biden had announced in November 2019 during the election campaign that Riyadh would “pay a price” for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the government, and that ” become an outsider”. According to US intelligence, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman oversaw the operation to capture or kill Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 approved. After Biden took office, his government imposed sanctions on Saudi Arabia in February 2019, but Bin Salman was spared.

When asked, Biden emphasized: “I will not change my opinion on human rights. But as President of the United States, it is my job to make peace when I can.” He was referring to the conflict between Israel and Arab states.

In the past few days, representatives of the Biden government had repeatedly made positive comments about Saudi Arabia – for example in connection with the increase in production of the Opec+ oil cartel or the extension of the ceasefire in Yemen. The US also hopes that Saudi Arabia will normalize its relations with Israel as part of the “Abraham Accords”. With the mediation of the US government of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, several Arab states had concluded corresponding agreements with Israel. (dpa)

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