WASHINGTON, DC (June 6, 2022—President Joe Biden’s planned visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel later this month have been postponed until July, several officials told NBC News on Friday.
The White House is now planning a broader trip to the Middle East next month, sources said.
“We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC+3 Summit,” a senior administration official told NBC News. “We are working to confirm dates. When we have something to announce, we will.”
A foreign diplomat and two U.S. officials said the Saudi stop will no longer take place in late June, and two U.S. officials said the trip to Israel was also being pushed back. Both visits had been expected to be tacked on to Biden’s previously scheduled trip to Germany and Spain this month.
The reason for the delay wasn’t immediately clear. The foreign diplomat and two officials said they learned of the postponed travel plans on Friday. The U.S. officials added that the dates remained in flux and could change again.
The White House declined to comment on the travel itinerary. The Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington didn’t immediately respond to inquiries late Friday.
Biden’s plans to visit Saudi Arabia came under swift scrutiny given the country’s human rights record and the president’s own past comments about the oil-rich country. On the campaign trail, Biden promised to treat as a “pariah” following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The CIA concluded in 2018 that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, had ordered Khashoggi’s killing. The crown prince has denied any personal involvement in his death.
Source: NBC News reported.