Biden to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia on July 14-15

AA / Istanbul / Muhammad Al Ragavi

US website Axios reported on Sunday that US President Joe Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel in mid-July.

The site reports that a spokesman for the White House National Security Council (who did not wish to be named) said the visit is “part of the establishment of a broader program with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries in the Middle East.”

“This agenda is focused on achieving progress for the American people, ending conflict through diplomacy, and achieving stability in the Middle East,” he said.

According to the same site, the Saudi embassy in Washington “did not respond” to a request for comment on this information.

Axios says the initial agenda for the Middle East visit includes meetings with leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar and the emirates.

The site clarified that three Israeli officials (who have not been named) have confirmed that President Biden is expected to travel to Israel and Palestine on July 14-15 before heading to Saudi Arabia.

Although the White House has not confirmed these dates, Israeli officials said the program “has changed several times and may still be evolving”, the site specifies.

Israeli officials say Joe Biden is expected to meet with several officials in Israel, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.

The US President is also expected to visit Bethlehem to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel’s official “Cannes” TV channel reported in the same context: “After several postponements of Biden’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, it appears that he will visit Israel on 14 July.”

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She indicated that Biden’s visit would include East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories.

Kan quoted an (unnamed) Israeli official as saying that the US administration is expected to announce the date of the visit in the next few hours.

This will be Joe Biden’s first visit to Israel since taking office in January 2021. He previously visited in 2010 and 2016, when he served as vice president in former President Barack Obama’s administration.

On Saturday, Biden announced that he had not yet decided on a trip to Saudi Arabia, adding that if he was to go, it would be to attend meetings beyond energy issues.

The US President told reporters after his visit to California that he has not yet decided to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reports the US agency “Bloomberg”.

He said any visit to Saudi Arabia would be for a “comprehensive meeting” on regional security.

The developments come at a time when strategic US interests in energy and security have prompted a review of the “tough” stance that Joe Biden promised to take to Saudi Arabia during his election campaign.

*Translated from Arabic by Murad Belhaji

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