US, its allies working to build better future for Middle East: Biden in Oval Office address

Washington: US President Joe Biden on Thursday said the US and its allies through innovative projects like the India Middle East Economic Corridor are working to connect the Middle East countries to a better future.

As he addressed the nation on his just concluded trip to Israel, Biden asked Congress for financial aid to the country that has been hit by a terrorist attack by Hamas.

“The United States and our partners across the region are working to build a better future for the Middle East. One wherein the Middle East is more stable, better connected to its neighbours through innovative projects like the Indian Middle East Europe rail corridor that I announced this year at the summit of the world’s biggest economies,” Biden said in his Oval Office address to the nation.

“More predictable markets, more employment, less rage, less grievances, less war when connected. The benefits of people would benefit the people of the Middle East and would benefit us. American leadership is what holds the world together,” said Biden in his second Oval Office presidential address.

Biden returned from a day-long trip to Israel on Wednesday night. Biden said during the trip, he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet and also interacted with Israelis who had personally lived through the “horrific horror” of the Hamas’ attack on October 7.

Hen said he saw people in Israel who were strong, determined, and resilient but also angry, shocked and in deep pain after the Hamas attack.

“More than 1,300 people slaughtered in Israel, including at least 32 American citizens, scores of innocents from infants to elderly grandparents, Israelis and Americans taken hostage,” said the president recounting the aftermath of the attack.

Reiterating his resolve and that of all Americans to stand by Israel in this moment of crisis, the president urged Congress to provide additional financial aid to Israel to strengthen its defence.

“Tomorrow I’m going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America’s national security needs to support our critical partners including Israel and Ukraine. This is a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations,” he said.

“This will help them keep American troops out of harm’s way, help them build a world that is safer, more peaceful, more prosperous for children and grandchildren,” Biden added.

“In Israel, we must make sure that they have what they need to protect their people today and always the security package. I’m sending to Congress and asking Congress to make an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge, which we’ve committed to the qualitative military edge,” the US president said.

“We’re going to make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading,” said the US President.

Biden said he and Netanyahu discussed again the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can and the people of Gaza, urgently need food, water and medicine.

“Yesterday in discussions with the leaders of Israel and Egypt, I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations to Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” he said.

“I also spoke with President Abbas, the Palestinian Authority and reiterated that the United States remains committed to the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. The actions of Hamas terrorists don’t take that right away like so many others,” the president added.

Briefing the nation on the developments in Ukraine, Biden said over a year later Russian President Vladimir Putin has “failed and he continues to fail”.

“Kyiv still stands because of the bravery of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine has regained more than 50 per cent of the territory Russian troops once occupied, he said, adding that Ukraine is “backed by a US-led coalition of more than 50 countries around the world, all doing their part to support Kyiv”.

“Putin has turned to Iran and North Korea to buy attack drones and ammunition to terrorise Ukrainian cities and people. From the outset, I’ve said I will not send American troops to fight in Ukraine. All Ukraine is asking for is help for the weapons, munitions, the capacity, the capability to push invading Russian forces off their land and the air defence system to shoot down Russian missiles before they destroy Ukrainian cities,” he said.