Biden to travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel next month -source

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U.S. President Joe Biden gives a thumbs up as he departs church in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. June 12, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     

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WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel next month and the White House is planning to announce the trip this week, a source familiar with the planning said on Sunday.

Biden's trip, which is expected to take place around mid-July, could include a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the source said.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed a Biden trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia was being planned. "We have no further trip details to confirm, but we will announce as soon as we do," the spokesperson said.

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The White House has said Biden feels that the crown prince is a "pariah" for his role in the killing of a political opponent, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Turkey in 2018.

Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul tainted the crown prince's image as a reformist. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by him.

The visit would be aimed at bolstering relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when Biden is trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices in the United States.

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Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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