US President Joe Biden on Saturday invited his Emirati counterpart, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, to visit the United States, in a gesture of rapprochement after months of tensions over the war in Ukraine and other issues.
“We both understand that the challenges we face today only make it that much more important that we spend more time together. And I want to formally invite you to the United States, to the Oval Office, before the end of the year,” Biden said in a statement. Bilateral meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Mohamed, the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates for years, formally took office in May following the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Khalifa.
The wealthy Gulf state is home to US troops and has been a strategic partner of Washington for decades, but its economic and political ties to Russia are growing.
Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to the United States, admitted in March that relations with Washington were undergoing a “stress test”.
The ambassador made the claim days after the Emirates abstained in a UN Security Council vote on a resolution calling for a Russian withdrawal from Ukraine.
Sheikh Mohammed’s political adviser, Anwar Gargash, told reporters on Friday that ties between the United States and the United Arab Emirates had “unresolved issues”.
After a meeting with Saudi leaders on Friday, Biden wants to take advantage of this Saturday’s summit with Arab leaders to present his vision of Washington’s role in the region.