US President Joe Biden said the United States would remain an active, engaged partner in the Middle East and urged leaders gathered at an Arab summit in Jeddah as he began a new chapter in the Middle East with focus on its Gulf allies and Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, said media reports.
"The United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you - and the United States is not going anywhere," Biden told the Arab leaders today (July 16) in a speech to kick off the summit in Saudi city of Jeddah.
Biden is seeking to start a new chapter in US involvement in the Middle East, hoping to move past th American military conflicts and instead push for a region that respects individual nations' domestic affairs but seeks economic integration and shared defences amid concerns over Iran, reported Reuters.
Biden, on his first Middle East trip as president, has focused on Saturday's summit with six Gulf states and Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.
He met Arab leaders on Saturday seeking to persuade Washington's Gulf allies to pump more oil and to integrate Israel in the region as part of a new axis largely driven by shared concerns over Iran.
The US and GCC leaders in a joint statement reaffirmed the strategic importance of the historic ties between their countries, and their shared commitment to build upon the achievements of previous summits to strengthen cooperation, coordination, and consultation in all fields.
The leaders affirmed their commitment to joint cooperation to bolster global economic recovery efforts, address the economic repercussions caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, ensure the resiliency of supply chains and the security of food and energy supplies, develop clean energy sources and technologies, and assist countries in need by helping address their humanitarian and relief needs.
They recognized the ongoing efforts of OPEC+ towards stabilizing the global oil market in the interests of consumers, producers, and supporting economic growth.
They also welcomed the recent announcement by OPEC+ members to increase supply over the course of July and August, and commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leading role in achieving consensus between the members of OPEC+.
Biden welcomed the announcement that some GCC partners plan to invest a total of $3 billion in projects that align with US Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) goals to invest in critical infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries, including through investing in projects that advance climate and energy security and digital connectivity, and that strengthen and diversity global supply chains.
The leaders affirmed their joint commitment to preserve regional security and stability, support diplomacy with the aim of regional de-escalation, deepen their region-wide defence, security, and intelligence cooperation, and ensure the freedom and security of waterways.
In this context, the leaders of the GCC member states welcomed President Biden’s affirmation of the US’ commitment to its strategic partnership with GCC member states, and that it stands ready to work jointly with its partners in the GCC to deter and confront all external threats to their security, as well as against threats to vital waterways, especially the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab Al-Mandab.
The leaders also commended the ongoing cooperation between the GCC member states and US to promote the security and stability of the region and its waterways.
They also affirmed their commitment to cooperate and coordinate between their countries to enhance their defense and joint deterrence capabilities against the increasing threat posed by the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and cruise missiles, as well as against the arming of terrorist militias and armed groups, including in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.
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