Joe Biden postpones trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel to July

Joe Biden postpones trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel to July
© Belga

President Joe Biden has decided to postpone a possible trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, according to the US television networks NBC and CNN, Belga News Agency reports.

The U.S. president had planned to visit the two countries in late June on his way back from missions to Spain and Germany, the two U.S. networks reported, quoting top U.S. officials.

Now, however, he may be going in July, when he could take part in a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a diplomatic forum made up of various regional countries, according to NBC and CNN.

The White House has declined to comment on the reports, French news agency AFP reported.

News of the planned trip had sparked controversy even before it was officially organised.

Biden had confirmed on Friday that he planned to visit Saudi Arabia, which he had earlier promised to treat as a “pariah” State, although he did not mention any meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salman.

The New York Times and Washington Post had reported that he planned to meet the Crown Prince, whom the U.S. President has thus far ostensibly avoided, considering that his interlocutor should be King Salman.

U.S. intelligence services had asserted in a report made public by President Biden just after he took office that the Crown Prince had “validated” the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This prompted the U.S. head of state, who has been leading the charge against authoritarian regimes, to announce that he was recalibrating ties with the kingdom by placing greater emphasis on human rights.

Since then, however, a new factor has been added to the diplomatic equation: skyrocketing gas prices, which have exasperated U.S. public opinion.

The U.S. has been trying to persuade the Saudi government to increase oil production in the hope that this would cause fuel prices to drop.

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