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President Joe Biden will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as part of a trip to the Middle East in July, the White House announced yesterday. The trip comes amid record-high gas prices, intensified by sanctions on Russian oil over the war in Ukraine, and after OPEC agreed to increase oil output by around 650,000 barrels per day—or more than 200,000 above expectations. Saudi Arabia is the third-largest oil producing country behind the US and Russia.
The visit is seen as an attempt to reset relations with Saudi Arabia and represents a reversal of Biden’s 2019 campaign promise to isolate the country over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. In a joint letter, human rights groups asked Biden to set certain conditions or cancel the trip.
The trip will also include visits to Israel and the West Bank as part of a virtual summit with several other world leaders.