biden foreign policy
February 4, 2021

President Biden plans to quickly revamp the U.S. involvement in the Middle East as he launches a review of the nation's deployments worldwide.

In a Thursday press conference, Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced the U.S. would end its support of offensive operations in Yemen. This includes halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia that the Trump administration had signed off on, and is part of the U.S.'s attempt to take a "more active, engaged role in diplomacy to bring an end to the conflict" in Yemen, Sullivan said.

Civil war has raged in Yemen for years, creating a devastating humanitarian crisis in the country. The Trump administration had provided arms support to Saudi Arabia and its coalition leading one front in the war, ignoring bipartisan calls from Congress to cut ties. Previously, the Obama administration approved the Saudi air campaign targeting Houthi rebels. Biden's team didn't specify what U.S. involvement in the war would look like going forward, but the president is expected to name a special envoy to the region later Thursday. Sullivan did say the change of plans would not affect efforts to fight al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula.

Also on Thursday, Biden will halt former President Donald Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reviews U.S. military placement around the world. Biden will speak later today and address the U.S.-designated coup in Myanmar, as well as make other foreign policy decisions official. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 27, 2021

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that the U.S. is restoring relations with the Palestinians and will resume supporting assistance programs that deliver humanitarian aid to refugees, a reversal from former President Donald Trump's policies.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills said the new policy is "the best way to ensure Israel's future as a democratic and Jewish state while upholding the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations for a state of their own and to live with dignity and security."

During the Trump administration, the U.S. stopped making contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides education, health care, and aid to Palestinian refugees; shuttered the Washington office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization; and submitted a peace proposal leaving Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which was rejected by the Palestinians.

Mills said under the Biden administration, "the policy of the United States will be to support a mutually agreed two-state solution, one in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state." Both sides are being urged to "avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult, such as annexation of territory, settlement activity, demolitions, incitement to violence, and providing compensation for individuals in prison for acts of terrorism," Mills added.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said now is "the time to heal and repair the damage left by the previous U.S. administration. We look forward to the reversal of the unlawful and hostile measures undertaken by the Trump administration and to working together for peace." Catherine Garcia

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