President Biden plans to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia in July, the White House confirmed to Axios on Sunday.
Details: Three Israeli officials told Axios Biden is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on July 14 and 15 before traveling on to Saudi Arabia. The White House has not confirmed those dates, and the Israeli officials all warned that the timing had shifted several times and could change again.
Why it matters: Biden promised on the campaign trail to make Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a “pariah” over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But the surge in global oil prices has led him to court the kingdom in hopes it will increase production.
- When news of a potential trip to Saudi Arabia emerged, Biden said any visit would come in the context of trying to bring “more stability and peace to the Middle East.”
- The tentative agenda for the visit to Saudi Arabia includes a summit with the leaders of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as Axios previously reported.
While in Israel, Biden is expected to meet officials including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.
- He is also expected to visit Bethlehem and meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
- Biden is planning to travel to Saudi Arabia on July 15, according to the Israeli officials.
What they’re saying: A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council confirmed Biden is planning a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia in July.
- “The trip comes in the context of a significant agenda with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the other countries of the Middle East. That agenda is focused on delivering results for the American people as well as ending wars and leading through diplomacy to bring stability to the Middle East region,” the spokesperson said.
- The Saudi embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.