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‘My job is to bring peace if I can’: Biden says he MAY got to Saudi Arabia this month

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President Joe Biden on Friday refused to say he had ‘direct plans’ to visit Saudi Arabia this month, allowing that if he does undertake the controversial visit it will be in pursuit of peace.

Speaking from a convention center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware where he has a beach house, Biden would not directly confirm reports this week of a trip, which could follow his visit to Europe and Israel later this month.

But he entertained the idea by referencing longstanding conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians. 

‘I’m not sure whether I’m going. I have no direct plans at the moment, but let me tell you that I have been engaged in trying to work with how we can bring more stability and peace in the Middle East,’ the president said. ‘And there is a possibility that I would be going to meet with both the Israelis and some Arab countries at the time, including, I expect that Saudi Arabia would be included in that if I did go.’

Biden notably did not put the meeting in the context of oil, even as he has called beating inflation his top priority. Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused a global spike in energy prices, as he mentioned during his earlier points on a positive jobs report. 

‘As president of the United States, my job is to bring peace if I can,’ President Joe Biden said Friday, while maintaining the possibility he will visit Saudi Arabia and not ruling out a meeting with leader Mohammed Bin Salman

Biden was asked about his campaign comments to treat Saudi Arabia as a ‘pariah’ nation, following the brutal killing of journalist and U.S.-based dissident Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.  

‘Look, I’m not going to change my view on human rights. But as president of the United States, my job is to bring peace if I can. Peace if I can. And that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Biden would not confirm that he would meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who the US assesses ordered the brutal killing of Khashoggi. 

‘Look, We’re getting way ahead of ourselves here,’ Biden said in response. ‘What I want to do is see to it that we diminish the likelihood that there’s a continuation of this, some of the senseless wars between Israel and the Arab nations, and that’s what I’m focusing on,’ he said, staying in the peacemaker vein.

He did comment on the consortium of OPEC+ nations agreeing to boost oil production, calling it a positive step. 

‘Well, what I recently read is talking to my team that they acknowledge that there is an oil shortage and they have made an announcement of late that they’re going to increase production. So I don’t know enough to know whether it’s enough, but I know it’s positive,’ he said. 

The nations said they would add a combined 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, amid record high bas prices at the pump in the U.S.

JERUSALEM - MAY 13: Israeli forces intervene Palestinian mourners carrying the casket of slain Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh out of French Hospital, before being transported to Jerusalem's Old City. Biden put a potential visit to Saudi Arabia in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an effort to have peace between Israel and its neighbors

JERUSALEM – MAY 13: Israeli forces intervene Palestinian mourners carrying the casket of slain Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh out of French Hospital, before being transported to Jerusalem’s Old City. Biden put a potential visit to Saudi Arabia in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an effort to have peace between Israel and its neighbors

Recent months have shown increased commercial ties between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors, although Israel has been fighting a shadow war in Syria against Iranian-backed Hezbollah. 

Khashoggi’s widow, Hanan Elatr Khashoggi, wrote Biden Thursday and is seeking a meeting while demanding accountability for her husband’s killers as well as to request the release of political prisoners before his trip. 

The families of September 11th victims are urging President Joe Biden on Thursday to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the terror attacks if he meets with the Middle Eastern nation’s de-facto leader later this month.

Biden would also meet with other allies in the oil-rich Gulf if he does embark on the trip later this month, the Washington Post previously reported.

Advocacy group 9/11 Families United urged the president to ‘prioritize accountability’ for the attacks in any conversations with MBS or other Saudi officials and royalty in a letter sent to the White House on Thursday.

Late last year, the president declassified a trove of FBI documents revealing the extent of its investigation into what, if any, ties the Saudi government had to the terrorists.

Brett Eagleson, 36, whose father Bruce Eagleson died while aiding rescue efforts after one of two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, told DailyMail.com that Biden’s move was ‘instrumental’ but called on him to ‘fully commit’ to seeking justice if he meets with MBS.

‘We’re now hoping that President Biden fully commits to help the family members, because he started to help us and he’s halfway there,’ Eagleson said.

‘But now finally, bring this issue home, put it to rest and bring closure to the 9/11 community by forcing the Saudis to be held accountable for the actions their government did 20 years ago.’

The families of 9/11 victims are urging President Biden to bring up the terror attacks after it was reported that he might be meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman later in June

MBS, as he is colloquially known, is the oil-rich Gulf nation's de-factor ruler

The families of 9/11 victims are urging President Biden to bring up the terror attacks after it was reported that he might be meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman later in June

The reported meeting spurred 9/11 Families United, which represents roughly 3,000 friends and relatives of victims, to write a letter to Biden urging him to abstain from normalizing relations with the Saudis until they are held accountable for the attacks

9/11 Families United National Chair Terry Strada said in the Thursday letter that the release ‘reaffirms our long-held beliefs regarding Saudi Arabia’s deep involvement in the murders of our loved ones.’

‘Accountability should be the cornerstone of any engagement, and the Saudi response should inform your approach to other concerns including energy production and regional security,’ Strada said in the letter, obtained by DailyMail.com.

Otherwise, he said ‘it would signal to the world that you are willing to indulge years more of Saudi obfuscation and obstruction, and that America prioritizes the interests of foreign powers and economics more than the lives of its citizenry.’

Saudi Arabia has for two decades denied any involvement in the attacks, though 15 of the 19 men who hijacked and crashed four planes that day in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon were Saudi nationals.

The FBI released documents from its investigation, dubbed Operation Encore, in November 2021 after Biden ordered them to be declassified. 

The Bureau had explored, among other things, whether three people including one Saudi Embassy official in the US had advanced knowledge of the attacks. An earlier memo released in September detailed the ‘significant logistic support’ two of the hijackers had received once within the country including ‘procuring living quarters and assistance with assimilating.’

But the investigation ultimately failed to produce concrete links between the terrorists and the Saudi government, nor had it ”identified additional groups or individuals responsible for the attack other than those currently charged.’ 

Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed when four planes crashed into New York City's twin towers, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and a field in Pennsylvania

Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed when four planes crashed into New York City’s twin towers, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and a field in Pennsylvania

Eagleson, not affiliated with 9/11 Families United, was part of an effort by 1,900 relatives of 9/11 victims to ask Biden not to come to the 20th anniversary memorial of the attacks unless he declassified the documents.

He said his group wants Biden and MBS to make a ‘commitment’ to discussing September 11th if they do meet this June, acknowledging the de-factor ruler did not have a direct role in the attacks.

‘MBS was not a part of 9/11. He was 16 years old when 9/11 happened. So we’re not pointing a finger at MBS, but we’re pointing a finger at his country, and the kingdom that was in power 20 years ago, Eagleson said.

‘And he as the ruler, or the de facto ruler of the kingdom, needs to acknowledge the actions of his country 20 years ago.’

9/11 Families United, which represents 3,000 people who lost friends and relatives in the attacks, also applauded Biden’s ‘historic’ move in declassifying the documents.

The probe also ‘underscores the importance that you do not reward the Kingdom and Crown Prince with a presidential visit that allows it to continue escaping responsibility for its role in the most horrific attack in our nation’s history,’ the group’s leader Strada stated in the Thursday letter.

‘We have watched presidents avoid the hard conversations required with the Kingdom for more than 20 years, and we continue to hope that you will be different,’ Strada implored.

‘The historic failure to hold the Kingdom to account for aiding and abetting al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers is the original sin in the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the source of the American people’s hostility to that nation.’

Strada said Americans believe Saudi Arabia has ‘moral and legal culpability’ for the tragedy.

Brett Eagleson, who's father Bruce Eagleson was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, said he hopes Biden and MBS can make a 'commitment' to discussing 9/11 on the trip

Brett Eagleson, who’s father Bruce Eagleson was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, said he hopes Biden and MBS can make a ‘commitment’ to discussing 9/11 on the trip

Eagleson helped lead an effort last year that culminated in a letter demanding that Biden stay away from the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks unless he declassifies the FBI's investigation into them - which he did shortly thereafter

His father Bruce had been working on the 17th floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower, and was helping others escape to safety before he died

Eagleson helped lead an effort last year that culminated in a letter demanding that Biden stay away from the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks unless he declassifies the FBI’s investigation into them – which he did shortly thereafter. His father Bruce had been working on the 17th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower, and was helping others escape to safety before he died

‘Americans’ view of the Saudi government, as unsavory and retrograde, has been amplified by the Kingdom’s more recent cruel and reckless acts, but September 11 looms over them all,’ Strada added likely in reference to the killing of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Strada pleaded with Biden to abstain from normalizing relations with the Saudis until the Middle Eastern nation stopped denying involvement in 9/11.

‘No reset of our nation’s relationship with Saudi Arabia can or should be possible without proper reconciliation for the attacks on September 11, 2001,’ he said.

‘Please stand where no other President since 9/11 has stood, with the September 11 community in our pursuit for justice, and prioritize a full and complete discussion of the Saudis’ continued denial of their complicity in the attacks.’

The Thursday letter is a follow-up from a similar plea that 9/11 Families United sent to Biden in March, when a potential meeting with MBS was first reported after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged the global energy supply chain into chaos. 

Eagleson, however, believes in normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia – after it makes a ‘formal acknowledgement’ of its role in the terror attacks.

‘I think that you’ll find that a number of the 9/11 family members, we are in support of normalizing relations. We are in support of bringing, you know, peace, right, between the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, but at the same time, we want to be heard, and we want our voices to be heard, and we want we want there to be justice for for the wrongdoing,’ he said.

The families want any government information on Saudi support for the Sept. 11th attacks

The families want any government information on Saudi support for the Sept. 11th attacks

Asked what he wants to come out of the meeting, Eagleson said: We want formal acknowledgement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that there were elements within their government that led to the success of the 9/11 hijackers.’

‘We want formal acknowledgement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that there were things that they could have done 21 years ago, to prevent 9/11 from happening ,and they failed to do that.’ 

He added that the ‘simple acknowledgement’ would be ‘an exoneration for all the families’ who have been fighting for justice for 20 years.

Nearly two decades after the terror attacks, MBS was accused of orchestrating the brutal dismemberment and murder of Khashoggi – a prominent critic of his. The Crown Prince had denied ordering the killing.

Biden had pledged to make Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ on the world stage after the Washington Post journalist’s murder and said there was ‘very little social redeeming value’ in their current government.

But now in the White House rather than on the campaign trail, it appears the president is trying to iron out a different strategy. 

On his reported upcoming trip, Biden may try to persuade MBS and the US’s other allies in the region into aiding with the growing energy crisis. 

It puts the president in a tough spot between sticking to his pledge to call out human rights abuses and easing Americans’ financial discomfort as the nationwide average price at the pump rose yet again on Thursday to roughly $4.71 per gallon.

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