Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from the strategic island of Tiran

US President Joe Biden has announced that US peacekeepers will leave Tiran Island in the Red Sea by the end of 2022, the latest indication that Saudi Arabia and Israel are slowly moving towards normalizing relations.

The strategic island, which was controlled by Egypt before it was handed over to Saudi Arabia in 2017, has hosted U.S. troops as part of a multinational force and observers since 1981, after Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty.

The decision to withdraw peacekeeping forces and allow the island to be repurposed for tourism required the approval of Israel, which has moved closer to Saudi Arabia in recent years over shared concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s activities in the region.

The announcement comes as Biden is on his first tour of the Middle East as president and hours after Saudi Arabia lifted restrictions on flights to and from Israel through its airspace.

Biden said Saudi Arabia also pledged to work to “extend and strengthen” the UN-brokered truce in Yemen, which ended a years-long civil war that sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and the kingdom will provide more than $1 billion. in new development assistance for Yemen.

Other highlights of Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia include commitments to cooperation on cybersecurity, clean energy, space exploration and public health.

The US President did not receive any new oil production commitments from Saudi Arabia during his visit, a top priority in the face of rising prices.

But the White House says it expects “additional steps” from the kingdom in the coming weeks, “which will go a long way to help stabilize markets.”

Source: AB

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