Biden to meet Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite criticism

Washington, July 15 (Representative) US President Joe Biden will be meeting the de-facto ruler of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite strong opposition to him doing so, BBC reported on Friday. This meeting will take place after Biden meets Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank on Friday before flying to Saudi Arabia. Analysts believe that the meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Biden is likely to be strained, after ties hit a low under the Trump administration. President Biden will meet both the prince and his father, King Salman.

This meeting comes two years after, Biden had pledged to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the 2018 murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. The prince denies any involvement in the murder, but US intelligence concluded he approved it.Topics of discussion for the leaders will include energy supply, human rights, and security cooperation.Mr Biden’s meeting with President Abbas in Bethlehem earlier on Friday will be the highest-level meeting between the US and the Palestinians since the Palestinians froze ties in a dispute over the closure of the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – the main representative body of the Palestinians – by the Trump administration in 2018.

The Palestinians want the US to do more to re-start peace talks with Israel, and to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, which served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians before it was shut under President Trump in 2019. President Biden is expected to push Saudi Arabia the world’s biggest oil producer, to commit to increasing production and the attempted reset of relations follows a spike in oil prices driven by Russia’s war in Ukraine.