Biden formally invites UAE leader to US as he begins day two in Saudi Arabia
president Joe Biden officially invited the leader of the United Arab Emirates to the United States by the end of the year as he kicked off day two Saudi Arabia with a trio of meetings with Arab leaders.
“The challenges you are facing today only make spending time together that much more important,” he told UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “I would like to officially invite you to the States.”
The sheikh, who took office in May, admitted he was new to the job but was working hard.
The 79-year-old Biden, who won his first federal election in 1972, joked that he was new too, earning a laugh from the sheikh.
The UAE is part of “I2U2,” which met partly in person and partly virtually on Thursday as Biden held meetings with Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid — part of the president’s four-day trip to the Middle East.
The I2U2 consists of the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and India.
UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indian Narendra Modi Narendra attended virtually.
But the UAE leader met with Biden in person on Saturday as part of the GCC+3 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which was also attended by the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman – met as the heads of state of the United States, Egypt and Iraq.
Biden will once again face Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as leaders take a “family photo” together – and spend the afternoon in meetings.
After Biden became the first US president to fly between Tel Aviv, Israel and the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah on Friday, Biden greeted MBS with a fist bump, a gesture criticized by allies of slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
President Joe Biden (right) formally invited UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (left) to the United States as they met in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday afternoon
A handout photo of President Joe Biden (left) punching Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) as he arrived for a meeting with the controversial king in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday night
President Joe Biden said Friday night he raised the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
In a remark to reporters after his meeting with the Saudis, Biden insisted he was raising the gruesome murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi-born critic of the kingdom who resided in the United States.
“Regarding the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the head of the meeting and made clear what I thought about it then and what I think about it now,” Biden said. “I was straight forward and direct… I was crystal clear about my opinions.”
“What happened to Khashoggi was outrageous,” Biden later said.
But when questioned by a DailyMail.com reporter about the fist bump criticism, Biden laughed and then said it was a “stupid question” when asked how he could be sure that another murder like that of Khashoggi would not happen again.
Fred Ryan, the editor and CEO of The Washington Post — which employed Khashoggi — called Biden’s fist with the crown prince “shameful.”
“The fist bump between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman was worse than a handshake — it was shameful,” Ryan said in a statement. “It projected a level of intimacy and comfort that offers MBS the unjustified redemption he has been desperately seeking.”
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, shared what she thought her late love’s reaction to the punch would be: “Is that the accountability you promised for my murder? The blood of the next MBS victims is on your hands.’
President Joe Biden (right) began his second day in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (left).
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi addresses a meeting with President Joe Biden in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday
President Joe Biden’s (right) second meeting was with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (left).
Biden also had Cengiz’s comments read out to him by a reporter, who then asked for the President’s response.
“I’m sorry she feels that way,” the President replied. “I was uncomplicated back then. I was uncomplicated today.’
Before inviting the President of the United Arab Emirates to the US, Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Biden spoke about Iraq’s transition to democracy during his meeting with the war-torn country’s leader.
“I want the press and you to know that we want to be as helpful as possible with this,” the president told reporters in the room.
Later, in a reading of the meeting, the White House said leaders “reaffirmed the importance of forming a new Iraqi government responsive to the will of the Iraqi people and their respect for Iraq’s democracy and independence.”
“President Biden underscored the importance that the United States places on a stable, unified, sovereign and prosperous Iraq, including Iraq’s Kurdistan Region,” the ad said.