LOS ANGELES: US President Joe Biden said he has “not yet” decided whether he will travel to Saudi Arabia, a week after opening the door to a possible trip.
Sources said Biden is planning a trip to Saudi Arabia, as well as a trip to Europe and Israel in late June. The White House said the president considers Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a “pariah” for his role in the 2018 assassination of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey.
The Saudi government has denied any involvement of the crown prince.
When asked by a reporter later in Albuquerque, New Mexico, whether he would use a possible trip to the Middle East to finalize a deal to improve Saudi-Israeli relations, Biden said, “We’ll see.”
Any potential visit to Saudi Arabia would likely aim to strengthen ties with the country at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.
A White House official said Friday that the United States would not overlook behavior ahead of Biden’s presidency, but that “it is also important to recalibrate — but not sever — ties with Saudi Arabia,” pointing to the role of the Landes as a strategic partner to the United States for eight decades.
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