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At Arab summit, Biden vows US ‘won’t walk away’ from Mideast, doesn’t mention Israel

19 31 0

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — US President Joe Biden, speaking at a summit of Arab leaders, said Saturday that the United States “will not walk away” from the Middle East as he tries to ensure stability in a volatile corner of the globe and boost the worldwide flow of oil to reverse rising gas prices.

His remarks, delivered at the Gulf Cooperation Council as he closes out the final leg of a four-day trip, come as the region braces for a potential confrontation with Iran.

“We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran,” Biden said. “We will seek to build on this moment with active, principled, American leadership.”

Although US forces continue to target terrorists in the region and remain deployed at bases throughout the Middle East, Biden suggested that he was turning the page after the country’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Today, I’m proud to be able to say that the eras of land wars in the region, wars that involved huge numbers of American forces, is not underway,” he said.

Biden also pressed his counterparts, many of which lead repressive governments, to ensure human rights, including women’s rights, and allow their citizens to speak openly.

“The future will be won by the countries that unleash the full potential of their populations,” he said, including allowing people to “question and criticize leaders without fear of reprisal.”

Before the speech, Biden spent the morning meeting individually with the leaders of Iraq, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, some of whom he had never sat down with.

Biden invited Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who became president of the UAE two months ago, to visit the White House this year, saying he looked forward “to another period of strong and growing........

© The Times of Israel

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