US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Monday that President Joe Biden will seek to “deepen Israel's integration into the region” during his trip to the the Middle East later this week, as well as to “provide material support to the Palestinian people while protecting the vision of a two-state solution,” and to “coordinate on the multifaceted threat posed by Iran.”
He also said that before concluding the trip, the President will participate at the "GCC+3" summit. “At that summit, he will make a major statement on the Biden administration strategy, his vision for the Middle East region,” said Sullivan.
“Despite ongoing challenges, the Middle East President Biden will be visiting is more stable than the one he inherited 18 months ago."Jake Sullivan
The National Security Advisor briefed the press ahead of Biden’s trip to the Middle East for the first time since taking office. “Despite ongoing challenges, the Middle East President Biden will be visiting is more stable than the one he inherited 18 months ago,” Sullivan said. “We reunited our partners to ensure that it's Iran, not the United States, that is isolated until it returns to the nuclear agreement. And the frequency of Iranian sponsored attacks against our forces in Iraq and Syria has dropped dramatically.”
Speaking about the prospects of bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together, Sullivan said that it is the US’ “hope and expectation that as we look out into the future, we can help facilitate Israel's deeper integration into the region across the board, specifically with respect to Israel and Saudi Arabia.” He added, however, that “any normalization of any kind is a long process. But looking for progress and momentum in that direction is certainly something we are focused on.”
“The partnership with Israel is strong across the board,” he said. “We passed the largest support package to Israel with the help of Congress, with $4 billion, in American history.”
“We're working closely [with Israel] across every dimension of the relationship: From finance and food security to cyber, emerging technology, to intelligence and security cooperation. President Biden's deep personal commitment to the US-Israel relationship and to the relationship between Israelis and Americans will be on full display this week,” Sullivan added.
Biden's Israel itinerary
He previewed some of the President’s itinerary, saying that in Israel, Biden will meet with the Prime Minister, the President, the leader of the opposition, and will attend a reception with a number of other key Israeli leaders and public figures. “He will also have the opportunity to receive a briefing on Israel's missile defense capabilities, including the US supported Iron Dome and a new laser enabled system called Iron Beam,” he said. “He will pay his respects at Yad Vashem, and he will hold a virtual summit with the leaders of Israel, the UAE and India with a focus on food security.”
President Biden will also meet with President Abbas and attend a health event with Palestinian civil society, said Sullivan. “In Saudi Arabia, the president will meet with the Saudi leadership with an aim to strengthen our partnership and also hold bilateral meetings with a number of other Middle Eastern leaders,” he said.
Speaking about the US ties with the Palestinian Authority, Sullivan said: “We've re-established diplomatic ties with the Palestinians. Working with Congress, we've restored approximately $500 million in support to the Palestinians, and we've reaffirmed unequivocal US support for a two-state solution, which had come into question over the previous four years.”