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Biden poses for ‘family photo’ with Middle East leaders


What pariah?

President Biden — who once pledged on the campaign trail to make Saudi Arabia an outcast — stood shoulder to shoulder Saturday with that country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, along with leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan for what the White House dubbed a “family photo.”

Biden, his hands clasped in front of him as he stood on a purple carpet with top officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council + Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, has been in the Middle East all week for a controversial, whirlwind session of top level talks.

The photo also included Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi; Jordan’s King Abdullah II; Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani; Kuwait’s Crown Prince Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah; Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhemi; United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Asaad bin Tariq al-Said, a special representative for the Sultan of Oman.

Biden has been in the Middle East all week looking to shore up some of the United States’ traditional alliances there. After first visiting Israel, the president arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday and met with the country’s Crown Prince, offering a a fist bump which sparked controversy.

The "family photo" also included leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.
The “family photo” also included leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.
Photo by YOUSEF ALLAN/Jordanian Royal Palace/AFP via Getty Images
BIden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" country while running for president.
BIden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” country while running for president.
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

On the campaign trail the president had promised to make the country a “pariah” over the prince’s role in killing Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, but concerns over sky high oil prices have forced his administration to reconsider that stance.

Before the photo Biden sat for bilateral talks with the leaders of Iraq, Egypt and the UAE. He also participated in a reception and welcome lunch for the assembled Middle East potentates.

The president is expected to depart Saudi Arabia Saturday afternoon and return to the White House in the late evening.



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