No sooner had reports emerged from Israel that U.S. President Joe Biden was planning to swing through the Middle East – including a visit to both Israel and Saudi Arabia – than the White House announced the trip would be postponed.
NBC News reported that the president's first trip to the region will be postponed to July.
“We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC+3 Summit,” NBC News quoted a senior administration official. “We are working to confirm dates. When we have something to announce, we will.”
This comes after news broke in Israel on a Hebrew website that Biden planned to touch down in the region on June 23. Ynet published a schedule of the president's visit which included seeing the Iron Dome base, Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and meetings with both Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog.
According to NBC, the White House declined to comment on Biden's travel itinerary and reasons for the delay were not clear.
After getting off to a rocky start with the Kingdom and slamming its human rights record, Biden praised Saudi Arabia this week for agreeing to an extension of the ceasefire with Yemen.
“Saudi Arabia demonstrated courageous leadership by taking initiatives early on to endorse and implement terms of the UN-led truce,” Biden said in a statement after the 60-day extension of the ceasefire was announced.
While Biden’s trip comes a year and a half after his inauguration, former U.S. President Donald Trump visited both Israel and Saudi Arabia as part of his first foreign trip as president within a few months of taking office.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.