Biden says he hasn’t decided ‘yet’ on Saudi trip

LOS ANGELES: US President Joe Biden said he hadn’t decided “yet” whether to travel to Saudi Arabia, a week after opening the door to a potential 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 believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a “pariah” for his role in the 2018 assassination of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey.

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

Asked by a reporter later in Albuquerque, New Mexico, whether he would use a possible trip to the Middle East to make a deal to improve Saudi-Israeli relations, Biden said, “We’ll see.”

Any possible visit to Saudi Arabia would likely be aimed at strengthening 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 behavior that happened before Biden’s presidency, but that “it was also important to refocus — but not break” — relations with Saudi Arabia. noting the country’s role as a strategic partner of the United States for eight decades.