Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

The White House on Tuesday said President Joe Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia next month, confirming widespread rumors in recent days that have enraged some of his closest political allies.

The trip, to begin on July 13, will start in Israel where Biden will meet with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and reinforce his support for a two-state solution there, according to an administration statement early Tuesday morning. Biden will then travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council along with leaders from Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. There, the president is expected to focus on finding solutions to staggeringly high gas prices in the U.S. that have emboldened Republicans vying to take control of the House and the Senate in the fall.

Members of Congress from both parties have expressed surprise and anger in recent days that Biden would consider granting a meeting to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – particularly following pledges on the campaign trail that he would not shift from what he considered the country’s position as a “pariah” state. The Saudi government has faced international condemnation for the crown prince’s reported complicity in the grisly 2018 murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident.

Plans for the latest visit represent perhaps the first major test for the president to follow through on campaign promises of central importance to his closest allies while also addressing the political realities – notably gas at $5 per gallon – that will likely define the midterm elections in November.


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