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Biden postpones planned Middle East trip

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President Biden’s visit to the Middle East, scheduled for late June, has been postponed until July, two senior Israeli officials and a US official said.

Why is this important: This will be Biden’s first trip to the region since taking office.

Driving the news: US officials told Israel late Friday that the visit would be postponed until July due to scheduling issues and the need for more time to work on travel preparations, the two Israeli officials said.

  • A US official also confirmed the visit had been postponed until July, but pointed to the reason for the president’s tight schedule with his trip to Europe. The US official said the postponement was unrelated to the domestic political situation in Israel.
  • NBC news was first to report Biden’s trip has been postponed.

Catch up fast: The trip was to include a summit in Saudi Arabia with leaders from nine Arab countries, as Axios previously reported. Biden also planned to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

  • Biden was due to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the US intelligence community says is responsible for the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi – an allegation Saudi officials deny.

What they say : Biden signaled on Friday that his trip may not take place in June.

  • The president said he had “no direct plans” to visit the region at the moment, but added that there was a “possibility” that he would meet with Israeli and Arab leaders, including including those from Saudi Arabia.

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