Biden Greets Saudi Prince With Friendly Handshake After Vowing To Make Gulf Ally A ‘Pariah’

President Joe Biden shook hands and greeted Saudi Arabian leader Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in New Delhi, India on Saturday, despite having previously threatened to make his country “the pariahs that they are.”

Biden shook hands with the Saudi leader during the G20 summit on Saturday – a summit that aims to tout the new India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, according to The Associated Press. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden threatened to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” and said there are “very little” redeeming factors to the country’s government. (RELATED: Here’s How Much Money The Saudis Will Pump Into New Golf League)

“This is a game-changing regional investment,” Biden said on Saturday in reference to the corridor, according to Politico.

#WATCH | G 20 in India: Handshake by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammed Bin Salman, at PGII & India Middle East Europe connectivity corridor launch event, in Delhi

— ANI (@ANI) September 9, 2023

Biden is expected to personally meet MBS, a Middle Eastern leader accused of multiple human rights violations, during the G20 summit that is taking place from Saturday to Sunday, according to Politico. Biden has previously said he would not sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia and threatened to make the country a “pariah,” during the 2020 presidential race.

“I would make it very clear we were not going to in fact sell more weapons to them. … We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are,” Biden said during a Democratic presidential debate in 2019, adding that Saudi Arabia has “very little social redeeming value in the present government.”

Biden met with MBS in 2022 and gave him a fist bump, a move that lawmakers and media decried as “shameful.” The Washington Post decried MBS and Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist that regularly spoke out against “authoritarian rule.”

The CIA found that MBS had previously ordered the killing of Khashoggi, who had been historically critical of the Saudi government. Besides his greeting with MBS, Biden met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss the new global corridor, in response to China’s own efforts to create a new Silk Road.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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