United States President Joe Biden and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nayhan (MBZ) met Saturday during Biden’s Middle East trip and discussed other meetings over the next couple years.
The U.S. president invited MBZ to meet in Washington later this year, and the Emirati leader sought Biden’s attendance at the COP28 climate summit the UAE is hosting next November.
“We both understand that the challenges we face today only make it a heck of a lot more important that we spend more time together. And I want to formally invite you to the States,” Biden reportedly told MBZ on Saturday, on the sidelines of the GCC+3 Summit, the Gulf Cooperation Council gathering in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
According to a statement from the White House, Biden and MBZ discussed “close coordination between the United States and the United Arab Emirates as strategic partners,” as well as global opportunities and challenges.
On Saturday, Biden expressed appreciation for his Emirati counterpart’s personal leadership in breaking down barriers and forging diplomatic relations with Israel, as well as for deepening cooperation with other countries in the region.
The two leaders also 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.”
In addition, the president highlighted the U.S.’ role in forging new economic, trade and people-to-people relations among Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco.
On the matter of shared security interests, Biden noted that the UAE is the only country in the Middle East to have deployed its military forces alongside the U.S. military in every international security coalition involving the U.S. since Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991.
Biden and MBZ said they were committed to continuing the close bilateral cooperation that has led to a 15-week truce in Yemen, and Biden said he would strive to deepen security cooperation between the two countries further.
This was Biden’s first meeting with MBZ since the latter was elected president of the UAE last month, following the death of the former president, MBZ’s half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The meeting comes after a few months of tensions over the American response to an Iranian-backed attack on civilian sites within the UAE’s territory and a reported refusal by the Emiratis to pump more oil, per a request from Washington.
In their meeting, Biden reassured the Emirati leader that the U.S. is committed to supporting the defense of the UAE against terrorism and other hostile acts.