This is why Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia

President Joe Biden publicly acknowledged on Friday that he may soon visit Saudi Arabia, a trip that multiple sources say is expected and could include talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Biden told reporters he did not yet have any direct plans to make a trip to Saudi Arabia, but if he did, it would be to try to advance prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Sources close to the process say Biden is planning a trip to Saudi Arabia in conjunction with a trip to Europe and Israel in late June.

As recently as Wednesday, the White House said Biden still considers bin Salman an “outcast” for what US intelligence says is his role in the murder and dismemberment of a political opponent, the Washington Post Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey in 2018.

Read more: Did Saudi Arabia end the war in Yemen at Biden’s request?

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

“Listen, 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 that’s what I’m going to try to do” , Biden said in explaining his reasoning. 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 would attend a Riyadh summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional union whose members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sources said.

“It is possible that I will meet the Israelis and some Arab countries at the time, including I think Saudi Arabia would be included if I went there. But I do not have any direct plans at the moment, ”said he declared.

Prospects for a Biden visit improved on Thursday when OPEC+ agreed to boost oil production by 200,000 barrels in July and August and a ceasefire in the war in Yemen was reached. prolonged.

Read more: Saudi TV mocks the US president

The White House has taken the rare step of acknowledging bin Salman’s role in extending the ceasefire in Yemen.

Reuters with additional input from GVS News Desk

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