Biden begins sensitive Saudi trip

US President Joe Biden in his office. Photo published by the White House on July 9, 2022.

US President Joe Biden began his visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday by giving Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a fist bump and shaking hands with King Salman.

Energy and security interests prompted Biden and his aides to decide not to isolate the Gulf oil giant that has been strengthening ties with Russia and China, according to a Reuters report.

But Reuters reported that the US national security adviser dulled expectations of any immediate oil supply boost to help bring down high costs of gasoline and ease the highest US inflation in four decades.

Biden met Prince Khalid al-Faisal, the governor of Mecca province, which includes the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

He then headed to the royal palace where Saudi TV showed him fist-bumping the crown prince. Later, a photo was shared by the state news agency, SPA, that showed Biden shaking hands with King Salman bin Abdulaziz.