US and Saudi Arabia signed 18 agreements to boost bilateral and regional cooperation during Joe Biden's visit to the kingdom.

President Joe Biden participates in a working session with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al Salman Royal Palace, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Jeddah.
President Joe Biden participates in a working session with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al Salman Royal Palace, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Jeddah. (AP)

The United States and Saudi Arabia have made a package of announcements ranging from removing peacekeepers from a strategic island off the Saudi and Egyptian coasts to cooperation in mobile technology, during a visit by US President Joe Biden.

The two nations also signed 18 agreements and memoranda of understanding for joint cooperation in the fields of energy, investment, communications, space and health during Biden's visit to the kingdom, according to the kingdom's TV al-Ekhbariya.

In the statement released after Biden held talks with senior Saudi officials including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the United States also welcomed previously announced accelerated oil production increases by OPEC+, a group that includes Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Wealthy Gulf OPEC members like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are investing in renewable and clean energy while also stressing the continued importance of hydrocarbons for global energy security at a time of growing calls for a shift away from fossil fuels.

READ MORE: US President Biden in Saudi Arabia in last leg of Middle East tour

Removing peacekeepers from Tiran island

The statement said the US and other peacekeepers would leave Tiran island, where they have been stationed as part of accords reached in 1978 and which led to a peace deal between Israel and Egypt. 

Tiran lies between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in a strategic area that leads to the Israeli port of Eilat.

According to a statement released by the White House both nations enhanced maritime security cooperation. It said both countries "reaffirmed their commitment to preserving the free flow of commerce through strategic international waterways like the Bab al Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s energy passes every day, through multiple joint naval task forces."

Washington also welcomed a Saudi move to open its air space to civilian aircraft flying to and from Israel, which had previously been barred with rare exceptions, the statement said.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia opens airspace to all flights, including Israeli carriers

Tech cooperation

Other announcements also covered an agreement on cooperation on 5G and 6G mobile technology and on cybersecurity.

The agreements include deals with US aerospace and defence firms Boeing and Raytheon, as well as healthcare companies Medtronic, Digital Diagnostics, and IQVIA, according to Saudi state news agency (SPA).

There were also agreements in clean energy projects, nuclear energy and uranium, it said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies