U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a part of a trip to the Middle East in mid-July, a senior official said, as the administration moves to shore up support for a key ally despite concerns about human rights.
Biden is expected to travel to the Middle East from July 13 to July 16, starting with a stop in Israel and the West Bank before landing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to meet with nearly a dozen regional leaders, including the crown prince, as part of a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council and others, the official said.
The official did not provide specific details on the meeting with bin Salman.
The visit to Saudi Arabia comes as Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States. The group of oil-producing nations called OPEC+, led by Saudi Arabia, recently agreed to boost oil production to help bring down prices.
During the stop in Israel, Biden will emphasize the U.S. commitment to the country, which includes billions in military support.
He will also hold a virtual summit with the leaders of Israel, India, and the United Arab Emirates as a way to demonstrate that regional partnerships extend beyond the Middle East, the official said.
He will end the trip in Saudi Arabia where he will meet close to a dozen leaders from Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, plus Iraq, Jordan and Egypt.
(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; editing by Richard Pullin)