US President Joe Biden’s planned trip Israel and Saudi Arabia has been pushed back to July, according to a report Friday.
Citing unnamed officials, NBC News reported the Biden administration is putting together plans for a broader visit to the Middle East.
A senior administration official said they were planning a summit with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is made up of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
“We are working to confirm dates. When we have something to announce, we will,” the official was quoted as saying.
The broadcaster said the reason for the postponement was not clear and US officials warned the dates could again change.
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A senior Israeli official told the Walla news site that the Biden administration sent an unofficial message regarding the delay that cited scheduling considerations. US officials also reportedly said they felt the trip was not yet properly planned.
The NBC report came as Biden said Friday that his upcoming trip to Israel has not been finalized, while confirming he may also visit Saudi Arabia while in the region, as the administration looks to shore up its Mideast alliances and presses Riyadh to increase oil production amid surging energy prices worldwide.
Speculation over the upcoming trip to the Middle East, expected in mid-June, has intensified in recent days, with some reports linking the journey to US-brokered talks between Egypt and Saudi Arabia that could include steps toward normalization with Israel.
“I’m not sure whether I’m going,” Biden responded when asked at a press conference on the economy about whether he’d be traveling to Saudi Arabia.
Biden told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their phone call in late April that he planned to visit Israel in the coming months, but no official date has been announced.
An Israeli official told The Times of Israel last week that the trip will likely take place the week of June 19 and include a visit by the president to East Jerusalem. A US official confirmed Biden will also travel to the West Bank and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.