White House confirms Biden will travel to the G7 summit in Germany and the NATO summit in Spain at the end of this month to discuss the ‘food and energy crisis’ caused by Russia – but leave out any plans to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia
- Biden will travel to Germany on June 25 for G7 Summit
- He will then head to Madrid on June 28 for NATO meeting
- Ukraine will be a major topic of both meetings, as will high costs of food and gas
- No mention was made of stops in Israel or Saudi Arabia
- There had been speculation Biden could tack on those countries
- In April, Israeli PM invited Biden to visit and he accepted but no date announced
- There was talk Biden would go to Saudi amid rising gas prices but Biden reportedly torn about meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
There was no mention of any stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel amid speculation Biden would visit the Middle East.
Biden will be at Schloss Elmau, a luxury resort spa in the Bavarian Alps, to meet with his fellow leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
The leaders will discuss the situation in the Ukraine, the economic and climate crisis, and global health, according to the White House.
They will also talk about ‘the food and energy crisis caused by Russia’s war of aggression.’ The Biden administration has blamed the high cost of food and gas on Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.
On June 28, Biden heads to Madrid for the 2022 NATO Summit.
The alliance will discuss ways to build its defensive network – including against cyber attacks – and deepening partnerships with democratic partners in Europe and Asia.
President Joe Biden will travel to Germany on June 25 for G7 Summit and will then head to Madrid on June 28 for NATO meeting
The G7 and NATO meetings come about four months after Russian President Vladimir Putin (above) invaded the Ukraine
The two meetings come about four months since Russia has invaded the Ukraine, which has tested Biden’s leadership skills in holding the alliances together in sanctioning Moscow, particularly over its oil, which Europe is more dependent on than the United States.
The Western allies have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia but there are questions on how long those will continue amid skyrocketing inflation and high food prices.
In April, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett invited Biden to visit and the president accepted.
No date has been announced but there was speculation it could have been tied to the G7 and NATO trip.
There was also reports Biden would make a stop in Saudi Arabia in June but that has been postponed until July, according to reports, amid an internal White House debate over whether he should meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
For nearly a month the White House has had an internal debate about whether to visit Saudi Arabia as the U.S. experiences rising gas prices.
And Biden had angrily rejected meeting with MBS, arguing the presidency ‘should stand for something,’ two people with knowledge of his thinking told Politico.
However, he appears to have relented from the stance as he recognizes he needs more Saudi oil.
The trip has been postponed until July, NBC News reported, after there had been speculation he would visit both Saudi Arabi and Israel when he is in Europe for G7 and NATO meetings.
‘We are working on a trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia for a GCC+3 Summit,’ a senior administration official told the network. ‘We are working to confirm dates. When we have something to announce, we will.’
In April, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (above) invited Biden to visit and the president accepted but no date has been announced
When asked last week about the rumored visit, Biden admitted it was a possibility, but was ‘not sure whether I’m going.’
‘And there is a possibility that I would be going to meet with both the Israelis and some Arab countries at the time, including, I expect, would be Saudi Arabia, would be included in that if I did go,’ he noted.
‘But I have no direct plans at the moment. We’re looking at it.’
Biden received immense backlash from Saudi dissidents, who called the trip a ‘betrayal’ if the president ‘shakes hands’ with MBS, who has called out for reportedly violating human rights.
He also received disapproval from a group of relatives who had family killed in 9/11 who told him he needed to bring up more than an oil deal.
They said if he were to travel to the country he would need to bring up ‘accountability’ issues between reported ties between 9/11 hijackers and Saudi.
Salman has received immense scrutiny after allegedly ordering Khashoggi’s killing in 2018. The leader has, however, denied any involvement in the journalist’s death.
Biden had previously claimed he would treat Salman as a ‘pariah,’ but since his administration has face heat to lower the rising cost of fuel – which has reached $10 in some parts of California – he seems to be reconsidering it.
When asked if he would still treat Salman as a ‘pariah,’ Biden told reporters: ‘Look, I’m not gonna change my view on human rights, but as president of the United States, my job is to bring peace if I can.’
However, after Saudi Arabia has rebuked the US’ request to increase oil production to offset the reparations on Russian oil, which may be causing him to try new outreach attempts, the Washington Post reported.
The Kingdom did start taking steps to increase oil production.
Last week White House thanked Saudi and OPEC for its bigger-than-expected oil release.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to increase its output by more than 200,000 barrels a day, the WSJ reported.
At Thursday’s meeting between OPEC and 10 non-OPEC producers, the group known as OPEC+ agreed to raise output by 648,000 barrels a day in July and in August. Previously the output was around 400,000 barrels a day.
Khashoggi was murdered in 2018 and was said to be killed after Salman ordered it. Activists are calling for Biden to demand accountability from the crown prince over his death
‘The United States welcomes the important decision from OPEC+ today 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 in a statement.
‘This announcement accelerates the end of the current quota arrangement that has been in place since July of last year and brings forward the monthly production increase that was previously planned to take place in September.’
‘We recognize the role of Saudi Arabia as the chair of OPEC+ and its largest producer in achieving this consensus amongst the group members. We also recognize efforts and positive contributions of UAE, Kuwait, and Iraq. The United States will continue to use all tools at our disposal to address energy prices pressures,’ she said.
The US has been plagued with high gas prices after continuously hitting record highs. For the first time in history, all 50 states are above $4 a gallon.
Those filling up in states like California and have been particularly affected by the rising costs, with the state’s national average having surged by more than $2 in the span of a year
In addition, the Middle Eastern giant has also been a close economy and military ally to the US, and Biden’s administration has reported found it difficult to it, NBC reported. With tensions over the Iran Nuclear Deal and Israel-Palestinian tensions has kept Saudi close to the president’s team.
But critics are saying it’s more than just about gas prices, but will send a message that the crown prince is unstoppable as long as fuel costs go down.
‘Regardless of who’s 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 officer, told the Washington Post. Aljabri has also accused the crown prince of targeting him for assassination and took his children hostage, he told the Post.
He also said it lets the prince ‘get away with a lot of things,’ even if Democratic administrations, who have been much more critical of Saudi than that of the former Republican White House.
‘But look at them now. They’re coming back,’ he told the Post. ‘The moment [Mohammed bin Salman] feels like he has unconditioned backing from the US, he goes rogue.’