Biden to visit Saudi Arabia, a country he vowed to treat as a 'pariah'

Carol E. Lee, Josh Lederman, Courtney Kube and Abigail Williams
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a graduation ceremony for the 95th batch of cadets from the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 23, 2018.
Saudi Royal Court | Reuters

President Joe Biden is expected to visit Saudi Arabia this month as his administration works to repair relations with a longtime U.S. ally and find ways to bring more oil onto the global market, five sources with knowledge of his plans told NBC News.

Biden will likely meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the country and also travel to Israel, said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not yet been announced. He plans to add the Middle East stops to a previously scheduled trip to Germany and Spain, where he'll attend global summits.

The trip marks a significant reversal for Biden, who as a candidate promised to treat Saudi Arabia as a "pariah" state after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post journalist and critic of bin Salman, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

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The White House declined NBC News' request for comment.

The New York Times first reported Biden's expected trip to Saudi Arabia.

After Biden took office, his administration has sought to smooth over tensions with Saudi Arabia — a key player in several top foreign policy issues confronting the U.S.

This week, the administration praised the country for its roles in securing an extension to a truce in Yemen and in Thursday's OPEC agreement to increase oil production this summer. Saudi Arabia is also closely watching whether the U.S. will strike an agreement to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch enemy.