Jeddah: US President Joe Biden on Saturday invited UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to visit the United States.
“Challenges you face today only make it a heck of a lot more important we spend time together. I want to formally invite you to the States,” Biden said after the two men met on the sidelines of a gathering of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrived in Jeddah on Saturday to participate in Jeddah Security and Development Summit.
Upon his arrival at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Sheikh Mohamed was received by Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied by a delegation comprising Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; and Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of State.
Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President; Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority; Yousef Manea Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States; Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN; Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Court, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, were also present.
President Biden offered his personal condolences to President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and all Emiratis on the loss of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. President Sheikh Mohamed thanked President Biden and the American people for their expressions of sympathy and for the visit of Vice President Kamala Harris and her delegation to Abu Dhabi in May.
President Biden offered his congratulations to President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed on his recent election as UAE President and conveyed an invitation for him to visit the United States later this year. The two leaders discussed a range of regional and global opportunities and challenges, which require close coordination between the United States and the United Arab Emirates as strategic partners.
In the realm of regional diplomacy, President Biden expressed appreciation for President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s personal leadership in breaking down barriers and forging diplomatic relations with Israel, as well as deepening cooperation with other countries in the region. The leaders discussed the US role in helping to forge new economic, trade, and people-to-people relations among Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco, as well as in deepening the ties among these states and Egypt and Jordan through new frameworks of cooperation.
In the defence realm, the two leaders affirmed their commitment to deepening the extensive security cooperation that has made both countries safer and been a major contributor to regional peace and stability. President Biden noted that the UAE is the only country in the Middle East to have deployed its military forces alongside the US military in every international security coalition involving the United States since Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991. The two leaders acknowledged the close and decades-long cooperation in their nations’ shared mission to counter terrorism and violent extremism.
President Biden recommitted to supporting the defence of the UAE against terrorist and other hostile acts such as the attacks targeting civilian sites in the UAE in January 2022. President Biden emphasised the centrality of the UAE as a strategic partner, and as a critical part of the security partnership among the states of the GCC, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed confirmed that the United States is the primary security partner for the UAE, and the two leaders intend to accelerate and intensify discussions to further enhance these historic ties.
The leaders committed to continue the close cooperation that led to a truce in Yemen, now entering its fifteenth week. They expressed their appreciation for the effective work of the GCC, the US Special Envoy, and the United Nations in achieving the truce, and committed their full efforts toward guiding the parties forward in a political process that can realise a lasting settlement to the conflict. President Biden emphasised the threats still emanating from Yemen and elsewhere and the importance of ensuring that the UAE has the best and most effective means to defend its homeland and people.
The leaders committed to continue to use their collective diplomatic standing to de-escalate and end conflicts elsewhere in the region. They discussed the importance of protecting the prospects of a two-state solution and of assuring that the benefits of the Abraham Accords also accrue to Palestinians. The leaders reaffirmed their support for Iraq and welcomed the landmark agreements to connect Iraq’s electricity grid to those of the GCC member states, as well as other projects further integrating Iraq into the greater region.
On economics, commerce, and trade relations, President Biden noted that the UAE is one of the fastest growing US economic partnerships globally, the largest US trading partner in the Middle East, and a significant investor in the US economy. He welcomed the UAE’s economic initiatives throughout the Middle East and beyond, including its recent Free Trade Agreements signed with Israel, India, and Indonesia as well as new investments in Jordan and Egypt.
The leaders tasked their teams with finding areas in which to deepen and expand commercial partnerships, as well as the negotiation of a broader strategic framework agreement between the UAE and the United States. President Biden recognised the UAE’s efforts to strengthen its policies and enforcement mechanisms in the fight against financial crimes and illicit money flows. Both leaders highlighted the extensive and enduring educational, cultural, and health partnerships between the two countries.
President Biden welcomed the UAE’s long-time commitment to global energy security as a reliable and responsible supplier and recognised its leading role in advancing climate action, the energy transition, and in developing clean energy technologies. President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed extended President Biden an invitation to attend the COP28 to be convened in the UAE in 2023.
Both leaders noted the important launch of the water and solar energy arrangement between Israel and Jordan with Emirati and American backing and investment as a model for future partnerships in the region. They asked their respective climate envoys, John Kerry and Sultan al-Jaber, to explore new opportunities in the climate and clean energy sphere to drive economic growth and sustainable development. They noted the UAE’s successful Dubai Expo 2020, which showcased the UAE as a convener of global events that promote sustainability, innovation, and dialogue.
President Biden also recognised the importance of the UAE as a force for change, global citizenship, and prosperity. He acknowledged the UAE’s leadership in promoting religious co-existence and challenging religious hatred through such initiatives as the Abrahamic Family House and the Hedayah Center.
He expressed appreciation for the role the UAE has played in delivering thousands of tons of medical supplies to nations around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic and its response to calls for humanitarian assistance during natural disasters and conflicts around the region.
The two leaders also noted the exceptional position of the UAE as a tolerant home to more than 200 nationalities and faiths coexisting in peace and as the most sought-after destination for Arab youth seeking a brighter and more prosperous future.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden began his final day in Saudi Arabia by meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi, who survived an assassination attempt with explosive drones last year.
Some in the country have blamed the attack Iranian-backed factions. It came amid soaring tensions and a stand-off between Iraqi security forces and pro-Iran Shiite militias over election results.
Biden said he wanted to support Iraq’s democracy.
“I want the press and you to know we want to be (as) helpful as we can in doing that,’’ he said.
Al Kadhimi spoke about the “strategic, friendly relationship’’ between the US and Iraq, and he thanked the US for providing support to combat terrorist groups.
An estimated 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq to support the country’s fight against Daesh (Islamic State).
At the summit, Biden will discuss regional missile and defence capabilities, where he will be seeking to integrate Israel, said a senior administration official.
“We believe there’s great value in including as many of the capabilities in this region as possible and certainly Israel has significant air and missile defence capabilities, as they need to. But we’re having these discussion bilaterally with these nations,” the administration official told reporters.
-- With inputs from Agencies