U.S. President Joe Biden has pushed back a possible trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, several U.S. media reported Saturday.
Biden confirmed Friday he was considering a trip to Saudi Arabia, which would be a stark reversal after he called for the kingdom to be made a pariah state.
The White House declined to comment on the potential delay, but according to CNN, NBC and Axios, the visit has been postponed until July.
The reported decision came shortly after Saudi Arabia addressed two of Biden’s priorities by agreeing to increase oil production, which could help tame U.S. inflation, and helping extend a truce in war-battered Yemen.
CNN said Biden would meet Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, 36-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was accused by U.S. intelligence of ordering the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The trip would reportedly have happened around the time Biden travels to a NATO summit in Spain and Group of Seven summit in Germany later this month.
He was also widely expected to travel to Israel where, as in Saudi Arabia, he is sure to face questions about slow-moving U.S. diplomacy with the two countries’ rival, Iran.
Biden, who prides himself as a champion of democracy against authoritarian regimes, had decided to reassess relations with Riyadh, placing a greater emphasis on human rights in his diplomacy.
But soaring gas prices, because of supply chain snarls exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have infuriated Americans and sent Biden’s popularity plummeting.
Biden’s administration is seeking to convince Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production in the hope that this will help ease supply shortages and bring down prices at the pump.