Biden to meet with Mohammed bin Salman in July visit to Saudi Arabia

The United States and Saudi Arabia will announce on Tuesday that President Joe Biden will visit the Gulf state next month for bilateral talks and will meet with the country’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three sources said planning NBC News with.

The sources said the two-day trip is scheduled for July 15-16.

The first day should be used for bilateral talks, including with the crown prince, it said. On the second day, Biden is expected to meet with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which consists of leaders from the Gulf states.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The forthcoming announcement comes about 10 days after a planned trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia was postponed in late June, multiple sources told NBC News at the time.

When asked about a possible trip to Riyadh last week, Biden told NBC News that if he did, he would also talk about improving Saudi relations with Israel. However, the Saudis are not yet ready to recognize Israel like other Arab countries, the three sources with knowledge of the plan said.

Biden has denied that the long-discussed visit to Saudi Arabia would primarily be aimed at getting the Saudis to pump more oil to curb soaring gas prices fueled by US and European Union sanctions on Russian Oil exports were caused because of his invasion of Ukraine. However, other US officials have acknowledged that the oil problem is an important factor.

Critics, including an organization of families of 9/11 victims, oppose Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have denied their government was involved in the terrorist attack, but 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Government officials said Biden will address human rights, but the visit is largely aimed at repairing ties after Biden branded Saudi Arabia a “pariah” in 2019 for the brutal 2019 killing of Saudi-born journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident. -State had designated.

When Biden took office, he authorized the declassification of a CIA investigation’s conclusion that the crown prince was ultimately responsible for the murder.

Biden to meet with Mohammed bin Salman in July visit to Saudi Arabia 1

Other big issues include the civil war in Yemen, where the Saudis helped broker a ceasefire, and shared concern over Iran’s progress in developing its nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency announced last week that Tehran has begun dismantling cameras installed by the UN nuclear surveillance agency at Iran’s nuclear facilities, complicating efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and alarming both Western and Arab countries.

Zoe Richards and Dennis Romero contributed.

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