US President Joe Biden said on Friday he was not going to have a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, during his trip to the region next month, Reuters reported.
"I'm not going to meet with MBS. I'm going to an international meeting, and he's going to be part of it," Biden told reporters on Friday when asked how, during his trip to Saudi Arabia, he will handle the topic of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing.
The White House announced earlier this week that Biden will arrive in Israel on July 13 for his first official visit to the Jewish State since taking office nearly a year and a half ago.
According to the official announcement, Biden will visit the Middle East for two purposes: strengthening the United States' commitment to Israel's security and prosperity and holding a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which will also include Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.
Biden will also visit the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia during his trip to the Middle East, which will last from July 13-16.
The White House has said Biden feels that the crown prince is a "pariah" for his role in the killing of Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018.
Any potential visit to Saudi Arabia likely would be aimed at bolstering relations with the country at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.
Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, after initially denying Turkish claims that he was murdered.
An intelligence report released by the Biden administration in 2021 said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved Khashoggi’s murder.
Biden has worked to recalibrate US relations with Saudi Arabia after the friendly ties his predecessor, Donald Trump, had with Saudi officials.
Khashoggi’s murder had resulted in tensions between lawmakers and the White House. Trump had reaffirmed his support for Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of Khashoggi, insisting the US-Saudi Arabian alliance is beneficial not only for American interests, but also for those of Israel.
Lawmakers from both parties, meanwhile, had called for a strong US response to Khashoggi's murder.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)