Biden planning Gulf visit, could meet crown prince - sources

US President Joe Biden

© APA | US President Joe Biden

# 02 June 2022 03:19 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. officials are planning a trip for President Joe Biden to the Middle East later this month to meet Gulf allies, which could put him in the same room with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sources said on Wednesday, APA reports citing Reuters.

No final decisions have been made about the trip, according to sources inside and outside the United States familiar with the planning, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The trip, tentatively being planned after a G7 summit in Germany and a NATO meeting in Spain, would include a visit to Israel, in which Biden would meet Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the sources said.

Asked about the possibility of Biden going to Saudi Arabia, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday she had no trips to preview, and that Biden stood by his earlier opinions of the crown prince.

Upset at the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence says was approved by bin Salman, Biden entered office in January 2021 vowing to recalibrate the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. Former President Donald Trump's White House had cozy ties with the crown prince.

The visit would be aimed at bolstering relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower high gasoline prices in the United States.