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Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia postponed after major investigation into Middle East human rights giant
The White House has postponed Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia after he was criticized for the oil giant’s human rights record, but he will stop in the Middle East in July.
The 79th president is said to be traveling to both the country and Israel after an extended visit to Germany and Spain this month.
But officials revealed that NBC News that his trip to the Middle East is now being postponed for no reason next month.
The plan was never officially announced, but insiders said the itinerary had been passed on through other countries and the White House was preparing for the trip.
When asked about the rumored visit on Friday, Biden admitted it was a possibility but “not sure I’m going.”
But he was panned by human rights activists who asked why he was entertaining a country ruled by a crown prince accused of cruelty.
Biden’s rumored trip to Saudi Arabia has been postponed to July after the president was criticized for considering a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has called for human rights abuses.
Salman (pictured in October) reported that he had ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He has denied any involvement. Activists are angry that Biden – who said he would treat the country like an “outcast” – is considering “shaking hands” with a man who “arrested and tortured our loved ones, banned many of our relatives from traveling to blackmail us, and harass us here in the US’
Biden said: “I’ve been working together on how we can bring more stability and peace to the Middle East.
“And there is a possibility that at that time I would meet with both the Israelis and some Arab countries, including what I expected Saudi Arabia would be included in if I went,” Biden said Friday. †
“But I don’t have any immediate plans at the moment. We’re looking at it.’
An official told NBC: “We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC+3 summit. We are working on confirming dates. If we have something to announce, we’ll do it.’
Biden received huge backlash from Saudi dissidents, who called the trip a “betrayal” as the president “shakes hands” with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has called for human rights abuses.
†[Salman] our friend killed [journalist Jamal Khashoggi]arrested and tortured our loved ones, banned many of our relatives from traveling to blackmail us, and harass us here in the US?!,” activist Abdullah Alaoudh wrote on Twitter.
Biden has faced a huge backlash, with activists and families of victims of Saudi human rights abuses calling the president’s trip a “betrayal” if Biden goes only for order and fails to mention the crown prince’s alleged human rights abuses, which he has denied
He received disapproval from a group of relatives who had family murdered in 9/11, who told him to bring forward more than one oil deal.
They said if he did travel to the country, he would have to raise “liability issues” between the reported links between the September 11 hijackers and Saudi Arabia.
Salman has faced huge criticism after allegedly ordering the murder of Khashoggi in 2018. However, the leader has denied any involvement in the journalist’s death.
Biden had previously claimed he would treat Salman as a “pariah,” but as his administration struggles to cut rising fuel costs — which have reached $10 in some parts of California — he appears to be reconsidering.
When asked if he would still treat Salman as an “outcast,” Biden told reporters, “Look, I’m not going to change my view of human rights, but as President of the United States, my job is to bring peace if I can. †
However, after Saudi Arabia rejected the US request to increase oil production to compensate for Russian oil reparations, which could lead it to undertake new outreach efforts, Washington Post reported.
The country has started taking measures this week to increase oil production.
On Thursday, the White House thanked Saudi Arabia and OPEC for the more-than-expected oil release.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to increase its production by more than 200,000 barrels per day, the WSJ reported.
At Thursday’s meeting between OPEC and 10 non-OPEC producers, the group known as OPEC+ agreed to increase production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August. Previously, production was around 400,000 barrels per day.
Khashoggi was murdered in 2018 and allegedly killed after Salman ordered it. Activists Call on Biden to Demand Responsibility from Crown Prince Over His Death
“The United States welcomes today’s important decision by OPEC+ to increase supply by more than 200,000 barrels per day in July and August based on new market conditions,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“This announcement hastens the end of the current quota regime in place since July last year and brings forward the monthly production increase previously planned in September.”
“We recognize Saudi Arabia’s role as OPEC+ president and its largest producer in achieving this consensus among group members. We also recognize the efforts and positive contributions of the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq. The United States will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to address pressures on energy prices,” she said.
The US is plagued by high gas prices after continuing to hit record highs. For the first time in history, all 50 states are over $4 a gallon.
On Friday night, gas prices hit a national average of $4.76, according to AAA — up 20 cents in a week.
Along the US West Coast, the pain at the pump is even worse, with Californians now seeing a previously unseen average of $6.24 cents as well. The state saw gas costs cross the $6 mark for the first time in history this weekend.
The country’s current average gasoline price, $4.76-a-gallon, is nearly double the $2.41 average seen during the previous month of former President Trump in office. The surge has seen the price of gas hit the top $4-a-gallon in each of the 50 states — a mark never before reached
Gas prices have risen since Biden was elected in November 2020, before skyrocketing earlier this year following the invasion of Ukraine
Those who refuel in states like California have been particularly affected by rising costs, with the state’s national average rising more than $2 in a year.
The South fares the best, with averages at the lowest between $4.25 and $4.49. The Midwest hangs on the higher side, while the Great Plains are in the middle.
In addition, the Middle Eastern giant has also been a close-knit economy and military ally of the US, and the Biden administration has been reported to be struggling, NBC reported. With tensions over the Iran Nuclear Deal and Israel-Palestinian tensions, Saudi has kept close to the president’s team.
But critics say it’s more than just gas prices, the crown prince is unstoppable as long as fuel costs come down.
“No matter who is in the White House, no one will care about your vices if you can lower gas prices,” Khalid Aljabri, whose father was a top intelligence official, told the Washington Post. Aljabri has also accused the crown prince of killing him and taking his children hostage, he told the Post.
He also said it will let the prince “get away with a lot of things,” even democratic governments, which were far more critical of Saudi Arabia than those of the former Republican White House.
“But look at them now. They’ll be back,” he told the Post. ‘The moment [Mohammed bin Salman] feels like he has unconditional support from the US, he’s going rogue.’