Biden postpones planned trip to Middle East

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President Biden’s visit to the Middle East that was planned for late June has been postponed to July, two senior Israeli officials and a U.S. official said.

Why it matters: It will be Biden’s first trip to the region since he came to office.

Driving the news: U.S. officials told Israel on Friday evening that the visit will be postponed to July because of scheduling issues and the need for more time to work on preparations for the trip, the two Israeli officials said. 

  • A U.S. official also confirmed the visit was postponed to July but stressed the reason was the president’s tight schedule with his trip to Europe. The U.S. official said the postponement was not connected to the domestic political situation in Israel.
  • NBC news was first to report Biden’s trip was postponed. 

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

  • Biden was expected to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. intelligence community says is responsible for the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — an allegation Saudi officials reject.

What they’re saying: Biden signaled on Friday his trip might not take place in June. 

  • The president said he had “no direct plans” to go to the region at the moment, but added that there is a “possibility” he will go and meet Israeli and Arab leaders, including those in Saudi Arabia. 

Go deeper: U.S. negotiating deal among Saudis, Israelis and Egyptians

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