In a trilateral meeting, hosted by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi along with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Jordan's King Abdullah II, the leaders of the three Arab countries discussed the upcoming US regional summit to be held in July in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
At this highly anticipated summit, US President Joe Biden will discuss with regional leaders issues related to the current energy crisis caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the war in Yemen, Iranian nuclear escalation, cybersecurity and the food crisis.
The three Arab leaders stressed the need to work together to "expand trilateral cooperation in all sectors" in order to "meet the aspirations of the peoples" as well as "enhance regional security and stability".
They also reiterated the importance of "supporting" the Palestinian cause, calling for a "two-state solution" leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, at a time when several Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain itself have established and built fluid diplomatic relations with Israel following the Abraham Accords.
They also discussed the importance of making efforts to reach "political solutions" to the current regional crisis, as well as to combat terrorism in a context in which the terrorist threat continues to grow, especially in regions such as the Sahel. It is in this political region where most terrorist attacks are being carried out and where terrorist groups themselves are fighting among themselves for control of the terrain. A situation that responds to the current conditions of insecurity in the countries that make up this African region.
In another bilateral meeting between Al-Sisi and Al-Khalifa, the two leaders discussed maintaining and promoting economic cooperation and investment. The official spokesman for the Egyptian presidency said Egypt welcomed "the pride in the historical ties that bind the two brotherly countries and peoples".
He added that Egypt remained ready to "enhance bilateral cooperation with Bahrain in various fields, intensify the pace of joint coordination towards developments in the Middle East, and enhance Arab unity and joint action to face various regional and international challenges".
Al-Khalifa, for his part, indicated that his visit to Egypt symbolised the continuation of 'the historic and distinguished relations that bind the two countries, governments and peoples' as well as 'their common future and destinies'.
Alongside this, the Bahraini monarch commended 'Egypt's fundamental and steadfast role as a pillar of security and stability in the region, and its efforts to promote joint Arab action at all levels', thus expressing his admiration for 'the great and qualitative development witnessed in Egyptian-Bahraini relations in various political, economic, developmental and other fields of common interest'. He also expressed his intention to further deepen relations with Egypt in the long term.
Saudi Arabia will host a summit in July that will be of great importance, especially on a symbolic level. Jeddah, the Saudi city on the shores of the Red Sea, is the venue where several Arab countries will meet with the United States to discuss the future of the Middle East and its post-crisis situation.
Diplomatic relations between the US and Saudi Arabia have been characterised by turmoil. This situation has now been aggravated by the Arab country's unwillingness to increase oil production after Washington called on Riyadh, as a member of OPEC+, to increase production in response to the energy crisis.
Biden also urged the Arab country not to count on Russia as an OPEC+ member in its attempt to isolate the country after it launched its invasion of Ukraine, a conflict that is now 117 days old. However, Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman confirmed that the OPEC+ agreement would not be affected, despite the pressure.
Moreover, bin Salman himself has been openly critical of the Biden administration and has reproached US interference in the Kingdom's internal affairs.
For his part, Joe Biden promised during his 2020 election campaign to make Saudi Arabia 'pay the price' after blaming it for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and vowed to turn the country 'into a pariah state'.
However, the oil issue, Saudi Arabia's possible rapprochement with China, as well as the important role the Arab country plays in the Yemeni conflict, as well as in the crisis in Lebanon and Syria, are key points that prevent the US from remaining on the sidelines. Even more so in the face of a possible rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In this situation, Biden has been criticised for his rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, although countries such as France and the UK have encouraged the US to "leave tensions behind" with the kingdom and take steps forward.
In the midst of these tensions, the US will seek to meet with bin Salman, with the nuclear threat in Iran, the Yemeni conflict and the price of oil expected to be key issues at the meeting. Although this meeting will take place, it does not necessarily mean that the US will achieve its objectives in the region, at least not in a straightforward manner.
Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.