US president postpones Saudi Arabia trip
Instead, a 'broader' trip is being planned to include a meeting in Israel between Biden and Israeli PM Bennett
By News Desk - June 04 2022

(Photo credit: NDTV)

US President Joe Biden has postponed a planned visit to Saudi Arabia from June until July, US media reported on 4 June.

The trip was set to take place in late June, but according to a senior official, the White House is now planning a “broader trip” to the region, NBC News reported.

“We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC+3 summit … We are working to confirm dates. When we have something to announce, we will,” the source said.

When asked by reporters about the visit, Biden said: “I’m not sure when I’m going … There is a possibility that I would be going to meet with both the Israelis and some Arab countries.”

During his visit to Israel, Biden was set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, and the trip would have taken place after a G7 summit in Germany and a NATO meeting in Spain, scheduled for later this month.

However, after being asked about the possibility of Biden visiting Saudi Arabia, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on 1 June that Biden stands by his pledge to make the kingdom a “pariah” and to have Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) “pay the price” for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Biden made his comments in 2019, ahead of his victory at the polls over then-president Donald Trump.

Relations between the US and Gulf states took a turn for the worse following the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, as both Saudi Arabia and the UAE refused US diktat to increase oil production levels.

The US continues to suffer from rising gas prices. To make matters worse, Saudi Arabia has upheld its refusal to increase oil production, with prices increasing as a result of sanctions placed on Russia.

Last month, the US president deployed a top-level delegation to Abu Dhabi, led by Vice President Kamala Harris, in hopes that the rift with the Gulf nations could begin to heal.

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