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Saudi Arabia: Biden set to meet Crown Prince amid criticism

US President Joe Biden has arrived in Saudi Arabia on a controversial visit to a country he once said he would ostracise over its human rights record.

Mr Biden has faced sharp criticism in the US over the trip in the wake of the 2018 murder of US-based Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.

The president has defended his visit, saying the "aim was to reorient - but not rupture - relations" with Riyadh.

He flew to the kingdom directly from Israel - something previously barred.

Saudi Arabia, which does not officially recognise Israel and for decades led a regional boycott of the Jewish state, earlier announced it would allow "all carriers" to use its airspace, seen as a conciliatory gesture to Mr Biden and Israel.

The president is aiming to broaden Israel's integration in the region, especially in the field of security and defence, as part of efforts to counter the threat from Iran.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional rivals, while Israel considers Iran its most dangerous foe. Iran does not recognise Israel's right to exist and has repeatedly called for its elimination. Mutual concerns about Iran have led to unofficial security and intelligence ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.


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