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Biden: US will not leave vacuum in Mideast to Russia, China

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US President Joe Biden said Saturday that the US will not leave any vacuum in the Middle East region to Russia, China, or Iran.

“We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia, or Iran,” Biden said at an Arab-American summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

“We will seek to build on this moment with active, principled, American leadership,” he added.

The summit brought together Biden with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council members, as well as Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

Biden is set to conclude his four-day trip to the Middle East region later Saturday that included Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the West Bank.

The trip was seen as a US attempt to assert leadership in the Middle East against China and Russia amid the Russian war in Ukraine.

Addressing the summit, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the meeting was held “at a time when the world is witnessing great challenges.”

He also called on regional rival Iran to be “cooperative and not to interfere in regional affairs.”

Earlier Saturday, Washington and Riyadh called in a joint statement for deterring Iran’s interference in the region and for preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Before the start of the summit, Biden held separate meetings with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President of the United Arab Emirates President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

In an interview with CNBC on Saturday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said Riyadh will continue to bolster its partnerships with both Washington and Beijing.

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