Biden to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel next month – source

U.S. President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up as he leaves church in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. June 12, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia and Israel next month and the White House plans to announce the trip this week, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Biden’s trip, which is expected to take place around mid-July, could include a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the source said.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia is planned. “We don’t have any further travel details to confirm, but will announce as soon as we do,” the spokesperson said.

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The White House has said Biden believes the crown prince is an “outcast” for his role in the murder of political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey in 2018.

Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has tarnished the crown prince’s image as a reformist. The Saudi government has denied any involvement on his part.

The visit is said to be aimed at strengthening relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.

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Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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