Today, President Biden met in Jeddah with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – the Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Iraq, and the Kingdom of Jordan (together known as the GCC+3). Named the “Jeddah Security and Development Summit,” this was the first summit of its kind among these nine countries. Throughout, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a prosperous, peaceful, and integrated Middle East region, and in working together to address global challenges, such as confronting new diseases, ensuring food and energy security, and addressing the climate crisis through partnerships.
At the Summit, President Biden reiterated the importance the United States places on its decades-long strategic partnerships in the Middle East region, affirmed the United States’ enduring commitment to the security and territorial defense of U.S. partners, and recognized the region’s increasingly important role as a trade and technology crossroads between hemispheres. He also strongly affirmed the centrality of the Middle East region to the long-term security and prosperity of the United States and the American people.
America’s Commitment to the Middle East Region
President Biden set forth five declaratory principles – partnership, deterrence, diplomacy, integration, and values – to guide U.S. engagement in the Middle East over the coming decades:
1. Partnerships: The United States will support and strengthen partnerships with countries that subscribe to the rules-based international order, and we will make sure those countries can defend themselves against foreign threats.
2. Deterrence: The United States will not allow foreign or regional powers to jeopardize freedom of navigation through the Middle East’s waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al Mandab, nor tolerate efforts by any country to dominate another – or the region – through military buildups, incursions, or threats.
3. Diplomacy: The United States will not just aim to deter threats to regional stability, we will work to reduce tensions, de-escalate, and end conflicts wherever possible through diplomacy.
4. Integration: The United States will build political, economic, and security connections between U.S. partners wherever possible, while respecting each country’s sovereignty and independent choices.
5. Values: The United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the UN Charter.
This address by President Biden frames U.S. engagement going forward in a manner that harnesses unique American capabilities, in concert with long-standing U.S. partners.
In addition, the leaders around the table agreed to:
Ensure Food Security for the Middle East’s Most Vulnerable Populations
President Biden announced the United States has committed $1 billion in new acute near to long term food security assistance for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Recognizing that the impacts of and capacity to respond to global food insecurity are unevenly distributed across countries, leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council underscored their commitment to supporting vulnerable populations in the MENA region through the Arab Coordination Group (ACG)’s recently-announced $10 billion food security package. Together, the United States and the GCC countries will leverage their collective assistance funds to address immediate humanitarian needs and disruptions, including guaranteeing full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to populations in need across the region.
The United States, the GCC members, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan signed the Roadmap for Global Food Security – Call to Action, which was unveiled in May 2022 at the Ministerial Meeting of the United Nations. At the GCC+3 Summit, leaders affirmed their collective commitment to act with urgency, at scale, and in concert to respond to the urgent food security and nutrition needs of millions of people in vulnerable situations the world. They committed to provide immediate humanitarian assistance, build resilience of those in vulnerable situations, near-to medium food security assistance to strengthen social protection and safety nets, and strengthen sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems in line with the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, and the objectives of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.
Enhance Strategic Investment Cooperation
GCC partners plan to invest a total of $3 billion in projects that align with U.S. Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) goals to deliver quality, sustainable infrastructure that makes a difference in people’s lives around the world, strengthens and diversifies our supply chains, creates new opportunities for American workers and businesses, and advances our national security.
The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, which the President and G7 leaders unveiled at the June 26, 2022, G7 Summit, will be executed across four priority pillars that will define the second half of the 21st century. This includes:
o Tackling the climate crisis and bolstering global energy security through investments in climate resilient infrastructure, transformational energy technologies, and developing clean energy supply chains across the full integrated lifecycle, from the responsible mining of metals and critical minerals; to low-emissions transportation and hard infrastructure; to investing in new global refining, processing, and battery manufacturing sites; to deploying proven, as well as innovative, scalable technologies in places that do not yet have access to clean energy.
o Developing, expanding, and deploying secure information and communications technology (ICT) networks and infrastructure to power economic growth and facilitate open digital societies—from working with trusted vendors to provide 5G and 6G digital connectivity, to supporting access to platforms and services that depend upon an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet and mobile networks with sound cybersecurity.
o Advancing gender equality and equity—from care infrastructure that increases opportunities for economic participation by women, to improved water and sanitation infrastructure that addresses gender gaps in unpaid work and time use – in order to boost the global economic recovery by ensuring that half the population is not forced to sit on the sidelines.
o Developing and upgrading the infrastructure of health systems and contributing to global health security through investments in patient-centered health services and the health workforce; vaccine and other essential medical product manufacturing; and disease surveillance and early warning systems, including safe and secure labs. Addressing the current pandemic and preventing and preparing for the next one is crucial to U.S. economic and national security.
Improve Patient Care for Palestinians
Following President Biden’s July 15 announcement of a U.S. contribution of $100 million for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE pledged $25 million each for a matching total of $100 million. Our combined $200 million assistance package will help the East Jerusalem Hospital Network upgrade its infrastructure and improve patient care for thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza who rely on the network for life-saving treatment.
Further Iraq’s Energy Integration with the GCC and Jordan
President Biden welcomed Iraq concluding agreements with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan to bring affordable energy to Iraq and diversify its supply and ensure energy resiliency to meet the growing needs of its people. The landmark agreement signed today between Iraq and the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) will link Iraq’s electricity grid to the grids in the GCC thereby providing the Iraqi people with new and diversified sources of electricity over the coming decade.
Address Global Economic Security
President Biden spoke with Middle East leaders about the importance of addressing current global energy insecurities and managing energy price pressures by ensuring a steadily increasing supply by producing countries through 2022 and 2023, including through increasing investments in refining capacity. President Biden welcomed the recent announcement by OPEC+ to increase supply over the course of July and August. President Biden anticipates additional supply increases over the coming months, depending on market conditions and analysis, including record-setting domestic production from the United States.
Integrated Air and Martine Defense Cooperation
President Biden affirmed the United States’ commitment to accelerate ongoing work with its allies and partners in the Middle East to integrate and enhance security cooperation. In particular, the United States is committed to advancing a more integrated and regionally-networked air and missile defense architecture and countering the proliferation of unmanned aerial systems and missiles to non-state actors that threaten the peace and security of the region.
President Biden also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to preserving the free flow of commerce through strategic international waterways like the Bab al-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s energy passes every day, via multiple joint naval task forces, in partnership with longstanding U.S. partners integrated through U.S. Central Command.