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Biden decides to visit Saudi Arabia, turning back toward kingdom amid energy crisis

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WASHINGTON (AP) — US President Joe Biden has decided to travel to Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks and is expected to meet with the kingdom’s crown prince, whom he once shunned for his brutality. It’s a visit that is coming together as OPEC , which is led by Riyadh, announced Thursday it will pump more oil amid skyrocketing energy costs around the globe.

Biden’s first trip to the Saudi kingdom as president is likely to occur later this month but details have not been finalized, a person familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. Biden is also expected to visit Israel during the trip.

The White House on Thursday praised Saudi Arabia for its role securing an OPEC pledge to pump more oil and the president himself lauded the Saudis for agreeing to a cease-fire extension in its eight-year old war with Yemen that was also announced Thursday.

“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 cease fire was announced.

Those warm words mark a sharp contrast with some of Biden’s earlier rhetoric about the oil-rich kingdom. As a candidate, he pledged to treat the Saudis as a “pariah” for the 2018 killing and dismemberment of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s brutal ways. US intelligence officials determined that the Saudi crown prince likely approved the killing of the journalist.

The ultraconservative kingdom’s leadership also had a close relationship with former US president Donald Trump, who largely shielded Saudi Arabia from repercussions after Khashoggi’s killing.

Biden administration officials have been working behind the scenes to repair relations, discussing shared strategic interests in security and oil with their Saudi counterparts. The effort has played out as the fallout from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the........

© The Times of Israel

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