US Vice President Joe Biden will visit the Middle East, including Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan on March 5-10, according to the White House.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Biden’s visit will begin on Saturday in the UAE, after which the vice president will visit Israel and the West Bank on Monday, later continuing on to Jordan.
While in the UAE, Biden is expected to meet with Crown Prince Mohamed to discuss the civil war in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group in the region.
During his visit to Israel, Biden is due to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. The vice president will then visit the West Bank city of Ramallah in the lands occupied by Israel, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss “shared regional interests,” according to Biden’s office.
Biden’s trip comes as the United States and Israel negotiate a new 10-year defense deal that is due to replace the current agreement, set to expire in 2018. Tel Aviv is seeking a deal worth $5 billion in annual military aid with Washington, a significant increase on the $3.1 billion it has received yearly since the current deal took effect in 2007.
The vice president is also expected to discuss the Iran’s nuclear deal with the Israeli officials, under which the United States began the process of lifting sanctions on Tehran.
During Biden’s last visit to Israel in 2010, Netanyahu announced the construction of a new West Bank settlement. Biden condemned the move, saying that it threatened to undermine the peace talks with the Palestinians.
In Jordan, the vice president will meet King Abdullah to discuss the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in a number of countries, including the United States and Russia. The sides are also expected to discuss the Syrian conflict, along with military ties between the two countries, according to the Jordanian Royal Court.