For nearly 80 years, Saudi Arabia and the United States have maintained and strengthened what is today a mutually beneficial partnership between our two great nations. President Joe Biden’s recent official visit to the Kingdom, his subsequent meetings with the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, followed by the Jeddah Summit for Security and Development, which included the member states comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council, in addition to Egypt, Iraq and Jordon, build upon the partnership’s legacy and outlined the contours of the relationship’s exciting next chapter.
The partnership between The Kingdom and the U.S began in 1945 aboard the USS Quincy when U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt first met Saudi Arabia’s founder King Abdulaziz Al-Saud. Since then, our two nations have worked closely together to confront a range of global challenges like fighting communism, reversing Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and most recently vanquishing the terrorist groups Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The Saudi- U.S. partnership has additionally created immense economic opportunities for both countries, leading to more jobs in American and Saudi communities and increased trade opportunities that bring our countries closer together.
President Biden’s two days in the Kingdom not only demonstrated the continued importance of our two nations’ partnership but also the immense potential a strong Saudi – U.S. relationship has in shaping the 21st Century. That was on full display when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia reached 18 agreements designed to unlock new avenues for cooperation in investment, energy, ICT, space, and healthcare. These agreements align with my nation’s Vision 2030, a transformative initiative led by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that is redefining Saudi Arabia’s position in the world, reshaping Saudi life, diversifying our economy, and creating new opportunities for all people, Saudi and non-Saudi alike. These agreements focus on an array of issues ranging from public health, to agreements with businesses for increasing and growing economic ties, to medical innovations and developing 5G & 6G technologies.
I want to highlight two of these agreements that are particularly impactful and important for both Americans and Saudis. The first is an agreement between Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the US tech giant IBM to upskill 100,000 young women and men over the next five years. This effort will help create a higher skilled and more diverse tech workforce in Saudi Arabia while expanding opportunities for success for young Saudis aspiring to be the next tech leaders and innovators.
Second, and most excitingly for those of us who have been captivated by the recent images from the James Webb Space Telescope, is the agreement between NASA and the Saudi Space Authority that will allow Saudi Arabia to become the 21st nation to join the Artemis Accords. By joining the Artemis Accords, Saudi Arabia will be able to undertake joint exploration of the Moon and Mars in cooperation with NASA, while also being able to contribute to the critical discussions underway regarding civil exploration and use of the Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids for peaceful purposes. This will further bring our countries closer together and allow us to expand our partnership not just throughout the globe, but even beyond.
President Biden’s visit was an important moment in the almost eight-decade U.S.-Saudi partnership. The President traveled to a kingdom undergoing a historic change, a transformation that is diversifying our economy, empowering women, and fostering innovation and technological advancements. The accomplishments from this visit will have a lasting impact on not just the relationship between our two nations but on the future generations of Americans and Saudis who will no doubt benefit in myriad ways from this robust, new chapter.
Fahad Nazer is the official spokesperson for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia to the United States, appointed to the role in 2019. He is additionally a former non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute and served as an International Fellow at the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations.