Biden on visit to Saudi Arabia: 'I have no direct plans at the moment'
US President Joe Biden says that there is a possibility that he would meet with Israeli and Arab officials during a trip.
US President Joe Biden confirmed on Friday that he was considering a trip to Saudi Arabia, which would be a stark reversal after he called for the kingdom to be made a pariah state.
The New York Times and other US media, quoting anonymous sources, have reported that Biden would go ahead with the long-rumored Saudi stop during an upcoming overseas tour.
The reported decision came shortly after Saudi Arabia addressed two of Biden's priorities by agreeing to a production hike in oil - which could help tame rocketing US inflation - and helping extend a truce in Yemen between the Saudi-led coalition and the Sanaa government.
"I'm not sure when I'm going," Biden answered when asked about reports of an imminent visit.
The US President mentioned that "There is a possibility that I would be going to meet with both the Israelis and some Arab countries at the time."
"Saudi Arabia would be included in that if I did go, but I have no direct plans at the moment," Biden told reporters.
#JoeBiden has long been championing punishing #SaudiArabia over the assassination of #Saudi journalist #JamalKhashoggi and #Riyadh's grave human rights violations, but it seems that the Kingdom's "pariah" status will have to wait, for the #US needs oil and energy. pic.twitter.com/SMsgIrX81z— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 3, 2022
The trip would reportedly happen around the time Biden travels to a NATO summit in Spain and a G7 summit in Germany later this month.
Moving forward with gun control legislation
In a separate context, Biden claimed that the White House staff is engaged with Congress to try and move forward with gun control legislation in the wake of several recent mass shootings in the US.
"I’ll do what I can to try to see if we can have some real progress," Biden said when asked about the White House’s work with lawmakers on gun control.
On Thursday, the US President delivered a speech in which he called on Congress to move forward with measures such as red flag laws and a ban on so-called "assault weapons".
His speech came a day after a mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a school massacre in Texas on May 24, and a mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14.
Biden: US can confront inflation
Touching on the current US inflation rate, Biden considered that the latest batch of solid employment figures shows that the country can confront inflation while maintaining healthy economic growth.
"We've laid an economic foundation that's historically strong," Biden said, emphasizing the resiliency of the US economy despite rising consumer prices.
"Now we're moving forward to a new moment where we can build on that foundation - build a future of stable, steady growth - so we can bring down inflation without sacrificing all the historic gains we've made," he added.