Biden and MbS expected to meet for first time next month: US officials
Ahead of being elected president, Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a 'pariah' state
By News Desk - May 20 2022

(Photo credit: Middle East Online)

Former and current US officials who spoke with CNN say US President Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) are expected to meet for the first time next month.

This potential meeting would come after months of tensions between Washington and Riyadh, as a result of Saudi Arabia’s neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Biden administration officials are reportedly in talks with Riyadh about arranging a potential in-person meeting while the US president is overseas next month.

Relations between the US and Gulf states took a turn for the worse following the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, as both Saudi Arabia and the UAE refused US diktats to increase oil production levels.

Biden has previously criticized Riyadh’s poor human rights records, taking special aim at the murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a team of assassins inside the kingdom’s embassy in Istanbul in 2018.

During a meeting in September 2021 between US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and the Saudi crown prince, MbS erupted into anger after Sullivan pressed him about the murder of Khashoggi.

According to the report, the moment Sullivan brought up the issue of Khashoggi, the mood of the meeting instantly changed, with the Saudi crown prince shouting at the US official and telling him that the US could “forget about” its request to boost oil output.

The US continues to suffer from rising gas prices. To make matters worse, Saudi Arabia has upheld its refusal to increase oil production, with prices increasing as a result of sanctions placed on Russia.

This week, President Biden deployed a high-level delegation to the UAE in a bid to mend ties with Washington’s Gulf allies.

Vice President Kamala Harris travelled to Abu Dhabi on 16 May, leading a delegation comprising Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, CIA director William Burns, and climate envoy John Kerry.

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