Sources said on Wednesday that the US officials are planning a trip to the Middle East for President Joe Biden later this month to meet Gulf allies, which could put him in the same room with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Sources inside and outside the United States who spoke on condition of anonymity said no final decisions have been made about the trip.
The sources said that the trip would include a visit to Israel, in which Biden would meet Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, as well as a G 7 summit in Germany and a NATO meeting in Spain.
Asked about the possibility of Biden going to Saudi Arabia, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday she had no trips to preview, and Biden stood by his earlier opinions of the crown prince.
Biden entered office in January 2021 and promised to re-establish the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence says was approved by bin Salman. The White House had cozy ties with the crown prince, according to the former president Donald Trump.
The visit is intended to bolster relations with Saudi Arabia, at a time in which Biden is trying to find ways to lower high gasoline prices in the United States.
Is it possible that Saudi Arabia will increase production of oil? OPEC reached with Russia and nine other producers after it rejected U.S. requests to do so.
Since 2020, the OPEC group has unwinded record output cuts as demand recovers from the coronaviruses epidemic, but not as fast as the West and other consumers want.
Biden is aiming to participate in the Riyadh summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional union whose members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The goal would be to hold an annual summit between the United States and the GCC that began during the presidency of Barack Obama.
One source said that Washington was looking for an extension of the Yemen truce and clarity on oil output by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates before agreeing to the summit.
A two-month nationwide truce between a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthi group, the first since 2016 ends on June 2, and ends on June 2.
Two senior U.S. officials visited Saudi Arabia in May for talks that covered energy and other issues, but did not include calls for boosting Saudi oil exports, the White House said at the time.