WASHINGTON: The iconic rock band, B-52s, will no longer perform at a White House dinner for Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese due to the “sorrow” of the Israel-Hamas war, The Times of Israel quoted US First Lady Jill Biden as saying.
The band, best known for the 1989 hit ‘Love Shack’, was scheduled to play at the state dinner for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday hosted by President Joe Biden.
“While we had initially planned for the legendary B-52s to perform their iconic dance and party music, we are now in a time when so many are facing sorrow and pain, and we have decided to make adjustments to the entertainment portion of the evening”, Jill Biden told reporters.
The New Wave band, named after a US bomber aircraft, but more famous for their beehive hairdos, will still take part in the state dinner, but as guests, she added. Presidential military bands will provide ‘instrumental music’ instead, the US First Lady also said.
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) October 25, 2023
Jill Biden made the announcement during a preview for the dinner, which will feature a guest chef, dishes including sarsaparilla-braised short ribs and design featuring US and Australian elements, as reported by The Times of Israel. Albanese arrived at the White House on Tuesday ahead of a formal state visit on Wednesday when he is expected to discuss topics including China, Ukraine, and the Israel-Hamas war.
A day ago, US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the conflict between Israel and Hamas during a phone call, the White House said.
The two leaders spoke about “ongoing diplomatic and military efforts to deter state and non-state actors from widening the conflict” and agreed to pursue “broader diplomatic efforts to maintain stability across the region and prevent the conflict from expanding,” according to the White House.
The two also affirmed the importance of working towards a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians as soon as the crisis subsides, “building on” the work that was already underway between Saudi Arabia and the United States over recent months before the outbreak of the Gaza war.
Biden and Mohammed bin Salman “affirmed the importance of working toward a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians as soon as the crisis subsides, building on the work that was already underway between Saudi Arabia and the United States over recent months”, a White House readout said.
The US President had suggested last Friday that the Hamas attack on Israel was related to a normalisation push and increased diplomacy between Saudi Arabia and Israel. “One of the reasons … why Hamas moved on Israel, is because they knew I was about to sit down with the Saudis”, Biden said during remarks at a campaign fundraiser. “Guess what? The Saudis wanted to recognize Israel,” he said as cited in the US daily The Hill.
During the call, Biden thanked Mohammed bin Salman for his “efforts to reduce the pace of escalation and prevent it from expanding in the region.”
The Abraham Accords were formalised in the year 2020 with the United States under the administration of Donald Trump mediating an agreement between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel, promising to normalise ties between these Arab Gulf states and Israel. (ANI)