President Joe Biden announced that he will be visiting Saudi Arabia next month in a foreign policy trade-off, hitting the brakes on his campaign pledge to make them “a pariah”. The President’s decision is speculated to involve the high gas prices which have reached all time highs this year.
Joe Biden will be traveling to the Middle East next month, where he plans on visiting Israel and the Palestinian West Bank before joining a gathering of regional leaders at the Saudi Port city. There he is expected to engage with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“The President looks forward to outlining his affirmative vision for US engagement in the region over the coming months and years,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades.”
The trip to Saudi Arabia had been planned for months, with US officials consulting their Israeli and Saudi counterparts. Initially, Biden was set to visit this month but delayed the trip due the recent G7 summit in Europe as well as NATO meetings in Europe. Previously, the White House denied plans for a trip to the Middle East.
“We’re now in a place where we feel this has come together in a very constructive way for everyone involved, and the President’s looking forward to it,” said a senior administration official.
President Joe Biden is going to the Middle East in July, during which he will view the US-provided systems and meet athletes participating in an international Jewish sporting event. He also discussed prospects for restarting peace talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The President is expected to meet Mohammed bin Salman in the engagement with Saudi leaders, but it remains unclear whether or not he’ll be given an opportunity for a one-on-one conversation.
There were some concerns about Biden going back on his word and visiting Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. As a result, it seems that some of the planned activities for this trip have been heavily criticized by those close to him, especially with the plans to meet Prince Mohammed.
“President Biden’s decision to meet MBS is horribly upsetting to me and supporters of freedom and justice everywhere,” said Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who accused the President of losing his moral compass.