Washington (Reuters) – President Joe Biden publicly acknowledged on Friday that he may travel to Saudi Arabia soon, a trip that multiple sources say is expected and could include talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Biden told reporters that he does not yet have direct plans to make a trip to Saudi Arabia but if he does it would be to try to advance Middle East peace prospects.
Sources familiar with the process say Biden is planning a trip to Saudi Arabia in conjunction with a trip to Europe and Israel in late June.
The visit would be aimed at bolstering relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.
Biden would participate in 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.
“There is a possibility that I would be going to meet with both the Israelis and some Arab countries at the time including I expect would be Saudi Arabia would be included in that if I did go. But I have no direct plans at the moment,” he said.
Prospects for a Biden visit improved on Thursday when OPEC + agreed to increase oil output by 200,000 barrels in July and August and a ceasefire in the Yemen war was extended.
The White House took the rare step of recognizing the role played by Mohammed Bin Salman in extending the Yemen ceasefire.