US President Joe Biden will arrive in Saudi on Friday evening for an official visit at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
On Friday, Biden will complete his Middle East tour with a visit to Saudi, after meeting Palestinian President Muhammad Abbas in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
The US president will participate in the Gulf Cooperation Council summit with the three countries of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, which will be held in Jeddah tomorrow.
The visit aims to restore fervency to the relationship between Washington and Riyadh, and the issue of energy supplies will be one of the most important issues that will be raised, along with other political ones.
The US is eager to see Saudi and its partners in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) pump more oil to help bring down the high cost of gasoline and ease the highest inflation rate in the US in four decades.
According to the visit program distributed by the White House, Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the royal palace in Jeddah, and then the president and his team will hold a working session with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, and Saudi ministers at the palace.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that Biden has a “bilateral program”, Friday evening, that will include the Saudi king, his crown prince and “other ministers in the Saudi government,” according to CNN.
He added that Biden will hold bilateral meetings with a number of regional leaders before the upcoming summit with them, refusing to answer a question about the hierarchy of these meetings.
On what Biden will say at the Gulf Cooperation Council +3 summit, Sullivan said: “The president will give broad and strong statements and strategy about his approach to the Middle East.”
Prior to Biden’s arrival in the kingdom, a US official told “Reuters” that Washington does not expect Saudi Arabia to boost oil production immediately and is awaiting what the OPEC + group will decide at its next meeting on August 3.
Biden had said he would not directly ask the Saudis to increase oil production. Instead, he emphasized that he would continue defending the idea that all Gulf states should increase oil production.
The diplomatic advisor to the President of the UAE, Anwar Gargash, said today, Friday, that his country wants more stability in the oil markets and will abide by the decisions of “OPEC+”.
Gargash added to reporters that Abu Dhabi would support any agreement between Saudi and the US if it was concluded during Biden’s visit to the kingdom.
The trade exchange between Saudi and the US during the past ten years accounted for 11 percent of the Kingdom’s foreign trade, according to official data published by the Saudi “Al-Eqtisadiah” newspaper.
The volume of trade exchange between Saudi and the US during the past ten years amounted to more than 1.76 trillion riyals ($468.3 billion).
The State Department stated on its official website that the US and Saudi enjoy a strong economic relationship and that the US is Saudi’s second-largest trading partner, and the latter is one of the US’s largest trading partners in the Middle East.
The State Department said that Saudi is the third major exporter of imported oil to the US, where it provides about half a million barrels per day of oil to the US market.
It mentioned that the US and Saudi signed a framework agreement for commercial investment. Saudi also launched its Vision 2030 program in April 2016, laying out plans to diversify the economy, including through increased trade and investment with the US and other countries.
According to the official website, the roots of the US-Saudi partnership extend back to more than seven decades of close friendship and cooperation, enriched by opportunities for exchange that are essential to promoting mutual understanding and the long-term development of relations between the two peoples.
The figures of trade exchange reported on the official US account indicate that during the first five months of this year, US exports to Saudi amounted to $4.2 billion, compared to imports worth $9.2 billion from the Kingdom.
As for exports to the Kingdom, they amounted to $11.1 billion last year, compared to imports from it worth $13.7 billion.