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The White House is delaying Biden's trips to Saudi Arabia and Israel

The White House is delaying Biden's trips to Saudi Arabia and Israel

June 7, 2022: -On Friday, President Joe Biden’s planned visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel have been delayed until July, a few officials told NBC News.

According to the sources, the White House plans a more comprehensive trip to the Middle East in the coming month.

“We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC+3 Summit,” a senior administration official told NBC News.

“We are looking to confirm dates. When we have an announcement, we will,” he added.

According to a foreign diplomat and two U.S. officials, the Saudi stop would not happen in June, and two U.S. officials said the trip to Israel was being pushed back. Both visits will be stapled to Biden’s earlier scheduled trip to Germany and Spain this month.

The reason for the delay wasn’t immediately apparent. The foreign diplomat and two officials said they want the postponed travel plans on Friday. The U.S. officials further said that the dates remained in flux and could change again.

Biden’s plans to visit Saudi Arabia came before swift scrutiny, given the country’s human rights record and the president’s past comments about the oil-rich country. On the campaign trail, Biden assured to treat as a “pariah” just after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. According to the CIA, in 2018, that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing. The crown prince has refused any personal involvement in his death.

The relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks wrote to Biden that if he visits the kingdom, he must raise ” accountability ” issues over alleged ties between a few of the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi officials.

Despite that, Saudi Arabia has been a close U.S. economic and military ally and has traditionally been one of the starting foreign stops a president makes in the Middle East. The Biden administration has found it challenging to avoid cooperating with Saudi Arabia, given its important role in many of the top foreign policy problems confronting the Biden administration, with Israel-Palestinian tensions and the Iran nuclear deal.

Biden was searching for ways to help drive down the price of oil and gas as his administration faces the contemporary pressure to do more to lower the cost of energy heading into the midterm elections.

On Thursday, NBC News said that Biden had to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel this month, noting five sources with knowledge.

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