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Biden to travel to Middle East in July, White House says

“From the earliest days of our administration, we made it clear that U.S. policy demanded recalibration in relations with this important country, but not a rupture,” the official mentioned. “And that is because we have important interests interwoven with Saudi Arabia.”

The administration is already defending towards the rising narrative that Biden’s journey may very well be seen as letting Saudi Arabia off the hook. In a Democratic presidential debate in 2019, Biden mentioned he would make the Saudis “pay the price” for Khashoggi’s homicide and “make them in fact the pariah that they are.”

The official pointed to the administration’s release of the intelligence report that concluded that bin Salman accepted the operation that led to the killing of Khashoggi in 2018, and to the State Department’s subsequent unveiling of a brand new coverage referred to as the Khashoggi Ban, which permits the U.S. to prohibit visas towards those that oppress journalists and dissidents. The U.S. has used the ban a number of occasions to impose sanctions on greater than 70 Saudi people and entities, the official mentioned, noting that these retributions have been imposed all whereas rebuilding relations with the nation.

“Human rights is always a part of the conversation,” the senior administration official mentioned. “The president is not going to change his views on human rights. He’s made that clear. And he’s also made clear that as president of the United States, it’s his job to ‘bring peace if I can’ … and he focuses our entire national security team on getting things done for the American people.”

In Saudi Arabia, Biden will take part in a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. The White House will launch extra particulars on Biden’s extra conferences, the official mentioned, although it’s anticipated the president will maintain a bilateral assembly with bin Salman.

Biden additionally plans to talk about the United Nations-led truce in Yemen; means for increasing “regional economic and security cooperation,” resembling by way of infrastructure and local weather initiatives; ongoing safety threats from Iran; and making certain world meals and power safety as Russia’s warfare in Ukraine destabilizes world oil markets.

Before flying to the dominion, Biden will meet with Israeli leaders in Israel to talk about safety and the nation’s integration in the area. He’ll then travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders to “consult with the Palestinian Authority and to reiterate his strong support for a two-state solution, with equal measures of security, freedom, and opportunity for the Palestinian people,” the administration official mentioned.

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