The United States will support $1 billion (over €991 million) in food aid to the Middle East and North Africa in response to food insecurity exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. President Joe Biden will announce the decision Saturday in Saudi Arabia, a US official said.
It will take place during the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the region’s main political and economic alliance. The members of the GCC are the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to Biden, the leaders of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan will also attend Saturday’s meeting.
During the summit, Biden will discuss America’s role in the Middle East and curbing Iran’s influence. Washington wants more oil to end rising fuel prices as a result of the war in Ukraine. Biden had already tempered expectations on Friday, saying concrete results would only be available “in a few weeks.”
Strengthening ties with oil-rich Saudi Arabia, America’s main Arab partner in the region, is not without controversy. The 2018 killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has severely damaged relations between the two countries, according to US intelligence agencies.