President Joe Biden indicated openness to meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later this month despite promising to make the country “a pariah,” after the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Tensions between the two countries have remained high over the past few years for multiple reasons, including the Saudi government’s repression of its people, killing of civilians in the war in Yemen and reports that Prince Mohammed ordered the murder of Khashoggi. It came as a surprise when it was announced on Thursday that OPEC and oil-producing countries would work together to produce 200,000 more barrels per day in July and August.

The Biden administration sees it as a big turnaround in relations with Saudi since the country had refused to up oil production as prices skyrocketed last year. Efforts have been made to repair the relationship between the two countries in order to find alternatives to Russian oil and gas production to punish the country for its attack on Ukraine. If Saudi goes through with the plan, they will be directly breaking previous agreements with Moscow.

Sources say that a meeting between Biden and Prince Mohammed has not been finalized but if Biden meets with him, it will also be significant in recognizing the de facto leader as the successor of his father, King Salman.


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