Washington: US President Joe Biden is expected to visit Saudi Arabia this month, NBC reported citing sources. He is also widely expected to travel to Israel.
The is will be a symbolically important move as the Biden administration works to expand on the Trump administration's progress in nurturing fledgling ties between Israel and Arab Gulf states, according to the media outlet. During the Saudi Arabia trip in late June, Biden is likely to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US officials and others familiar with his travel plans said. Widely known by his initials, MBS, the crown prince is Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and is in line to be its next king.
However, the White House declined to comment Thursday about whether Biden would visit Saudi Arabia.
"The president will look for opportunities to engage with leaders from the Middle East region," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Biden plans this month to travel to a NATO summit in Spain and Group of Seven summit in Germany.
Major oil producers led by Saudi Arabia on Thursday also agreed to a bigger than expected output boost, a relief for Biden whose poll numbers have sagged in part over skyrocketing gas prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the United States is not involved in OPEC+ decisions to boost oil production, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the OPEC+ committee recommended increasing the oil production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, instead of the planned 432,000.
"That is a decision that OPEC+ makes on their own, that is not something that we decide on, or that we are involved in," Jean-Pierre told a briefing, when asked what role Washington played in pushing the alliance to increase production.