Depending on whom you ask, Vice President Biden called the crown prince of the United Arab Emerites either to apologize for or to clarify remarks made last week at Harvard University.
Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday called the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates to clarify that he did not mean to imply in his remarks last week that the Gulf ally was supporting al-Qaida fighters in Syria.
Biden spoke with Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a key Emirati leader, the White House said.
It was the second time in two days that Biden had to call a key partner in President Barack Obama’s coalition to walk back comments he made on Thursday, when he said that U.S. allies — including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — had funded and armed extremist groups linked to al-Qaida.
Earlier Sunday, an exasperated UAE requested “a formal clarification” from Biden on comments that America’s allies in the Middle East sent weapons and cash to extremists fighting in Syria.
The White House said Biden clarified his remarks and recognized the UAE’s strong steps to counter extremists and participation in U.S.-led airstrikes.
On Saturday, Biden already called to apologize to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said.
“The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria,” the White House said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.