Biden opens door to possible trip to Saudi Arabia

REHOBOTH BEACH, Delaware: President Joe Biden publicly admitted Friday (June 3) that he may soon travel to Saudi Arabia, a trip that multiple sources say is expected and may include talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Biden told reporters he has no immediate plans to take a trip to Saudi Arabia yet, but if he does, it would be to try and advance peace prospects in the Middle East.

Sources familiar with the trial say Biden is planning a trip to Saudi Arabia in conjunction with a trip to Europe and Israel at the end of June.

On Wednesday, the White House said Biden still believed bin Salman was a “pariah” for what US intelligence said was his role in the killing and dismemberment of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey in 2018.

The murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has tarnished the image of the crown prince as a reformist. The Saudi government has denied any involvement on his part.

“Look, I’m not going to change my view of human rights, but as President of the United States, my job is to bring peace if I can and I’m going to try to do that,” Biden said when explaining his reasoning. for why he can make the trip.

The visit is said to be aimed at strengthening relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.

Biden was set to attend a summit in Riyadh of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional union whose members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sources said.

“There is a possibility that I would meet with the Israelis as well as some Arab countries at that time, including I expect Saudi Arabia would be involved if I went. But I have no immediate plans at the moment,” he said.

The prospects for a visit to Biden improved on Thursday as OPEC+ agreed to increase oil production by 200,000 barrels in July and August and a ceasefire in the war in Yemen was extended.

The White House took the rare step to recognize bin Salman’s role in extending the ceasefire in Yemen.

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