Joe Biden delays possible trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel, US media reports
- Biden reportedly planned to go ahead with the long-rumoured Saudi stop during an upcoming overseas tour at the end of June
- Biden is also expected to travel to Israel where, as in Saudi Arabia, he is sure to face questions about slow-moving US diplomacy with the two countries’ rival, Iran
US President Joe Biden has pushed back a possible trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, US media reported on Saturday.
Biden reportedly planned to go ahead with the long-rumoured Saudi stop during an upcoming overseas tour at the end of June. But according to CNN and NBC, he has postponed the visit to July.
The White House declined to comment on the potential delay.
Biden confirmed on Friday he was considering a trip to Saudi Arabia, which would be a stark reversal after he called for the kingdom to be made a pariah state.
The reported decision came soon after Saudi Arabia addressed two of Biden’s priorities by agreeing to a production increase in oil – which could help tame rocketing US inflation – and helping extend a truce in war-battered Yemen.
CNN said Biden would meet Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, 36-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was accused by US intelligence of ordering the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The trip would reportedly happen around the time Biden travels to a Nato summit in Spain and Group of Seven (G7) summit in Germany later this month.
Biden is also widely expected to travel to Israel where, as in Saudi Arabia, he is sure to face pointed questions about slow-moving US diplomacy with the two countries’ rival, Iran.
Biden, who prides himself as a champion of democracy against authoritarian regimes, has decided to reassess relations with Riyadh, placing a greater emphasis on human rights in his diplomacy.
But soaring gas prices, due to supply chain snarls exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have infuriated Americans and sent Biden’s popularity plummeting.
Biden’s administration is seeking to convince Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production in the hope that this will help ease supply shortages and bring down prices at the pump.