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Biden says he has 'not yet' decided on Saudi trip

Biden says he has 'not yet' decided on Saudi trip

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters after attending the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, US, on Jun 11, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

LOS ANGELES: US President Joe Biden said he had "not yet" decided if he will travel to Saudi Arabia, a week after he opened the door to a possible trip.

Sources have said Biden was planning a trip to Saudi Arabia, along with a trip to Europe and Israel in late June. The White House has said the president feels that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a "pariah" for his role in the killing of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey in 2018.

The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the crown prince.

Asked by a reporter later in Albuquerque, New Mexico, if he would use a possible trip to the Middle East to secure a deal to improve Saudi-Israeli relations, Biden said: "We'll see."

Any potential visit to Saudi Arabia likely would be aimed at bolstering relations 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 on Friday that the United States would not overlook conduct that took place before Biden's presidency, but that "it was also important to reorient – but not rupture – relations with Saudi Arabia", noting the country's role as a strategic partner of the United States for eight decades.

Source: Reuters/aj

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