JEDDAH: President Joe Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday to discuss energy supply, human rights, and security cooperation on a trip designed to reset the US relationship with a country he once pledged to make a "pariah" on the world stage.
Energy and security interests prompted the president and his aides to decide not to isolate the kingdom, the world's top oil exporter and regional powerhouse.
But the US national security adviser dampened expectations of any immediate oil supply boost to help bring down high costs of gasoline and ease the highest US inflation in four decades.
The White House said Biden would hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the royal palace in Jeddah and then the president and his team would have a working session with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi ministers at the palace.
Jeddah hosts a larger gathering of Arab leaders on Saturday.
Biden will discuss energy security with leaders of Gulf oil producers and hopes to see more action by Opec+ to boost output, but there were unlikely to be any bilateral announcements from the talks, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters en route to Jeddah from Israel.
"We believe any further action taken to ensure that there is sufficient energy to protect the health of the global economy, it will be done in the context of Opec+," said Sullivan. "We are hopeful that we will see additional actions by Opec+ in coming weeks."
The Opec+ group that includes Russia meets next on August 3.
Biden's sensitive trip will be closely watched for body language and rhetoric and will test his ability to reset relations with Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince.
Biden wants to "recalibrate" Washington's relations with Saudi Arabia and not rupture them, Sullivan stressed.
White House advisers have declined to say whether Biden will shake hands with the prince, the kingdom's de facto ruler. Biden will meet with a broader set of Arab leaders at a summit in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on Saturday.
"The president's going to meet about a dozen leaders and he'll greet them as he usually does," a senior Biden administration official said earlier. - Reuters