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Biden Postpones Middle East Tour Till July

Biden Postpones Middle East Tour Till July

Sunday, 5 June, 2022 - 06:15
US President Joe Biden holds a press conference at the White House (AP)

US President Joe Biden postponed his trip to the Middle East from the end of June to July, according to media reports.

Sources told NBC News that the White House is now planning a broader trip to the Middle East next month.

"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."

The White House has refused to confirm specific dates for Biden's visit to the region.

The reasons for the delay are not yet clear, and several officials said that it might be due to "complications" that the Biden administration is trying to solve to obtain positive results from the trip.

US news websites quoted Israeli officials as confirming that the visit will be postponed to July because of scheduling issues and the need for more time to work on preparations for the trip.

A foreign diplomat and two US officials said the Saudi stop would no longer take place in late June, and two US 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 trips to Germany to attend G7 and Spain to attend the NATO summit.

The White House declined to comment on the postponement of the visit.

Biden confirmed earlier that he expected a visit to Saudi Arabia, but he was unsure of the exact time.

"Let me tell you that I have been engaged in trying to work with how we can bring more stability and peace in the Middle East,” the president said.

Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia was considered a change in the relationship between the two countries after the US president decided to rebuild relations with Riyadh that had been damaged since him taking power.

A close US economic and military ally, Saudi Arabia has traditionally been one of the first foreign stops a president makes in the Middle East.

The Biden administration has found it challenging to avoid cooperating with Saudi Arabia, given its significant role in many of the top foreign policy issues confronting the Biden administration, including Israeli-Palestinian tensions and the Iran nuclear deal.

Biden has also been looking for ways to help drive down the price of oil and gas as his administration faces ongoing pressure to do more to lower the cost of fuel heading into the midterm elections.

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