US President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia this month, reports said Thursday, a stark reversal for a leader who once called for the kingdom to be made a pariah.
The reported decision comes hours after Saudi Arabia addressed two of Biden's priorities by agreeing to a production hike in oil and helping extend a truce in war-battered Yemen.
The New York Times and CNN, quoting anonymous sources, both said that Biden would go ahead with the long-rumored Saudi stop on an upcoming trip.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she had no travel to announce, adding only: "The president will look for opportunities to engage with leaders from the Middle East region."
Biden plans this month to travel to a NATO summit in Spain and Group of Seven summit in Germany. He is also widely expected to travel to Israel.
Biden while running for president called for the Saudi leaders to be treated as "the pariah that they are" after the ultraconservative kingdom's chummy relationship with his predecessor Donald Trump.
Trump had largely shielded Saudi Arabia from consequences after dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, was lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was strangled and dismembered.
Trump's son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, had developed a close bond with Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reportedly conversing with him over WhatsApp chats.
Biden shortly after taking office released an intelligence report that said the crown prince authorized the killing of Khashoggi and the administration imposed visa restrictions on dozens of Saudis accused of threatening dissidents.
Biden also scaled back support from a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen amid revulsion over civilian casualties.
Biden on Thursday hailed the extension of a fragile two-month truce between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and Iranian-affiliated Huthi rebels, with US officials saying that Riyadh was supportive of the diplomacy.
Major oil producers led by Saudi Arabia on Thursday also agreed to a bigger than expected output boost, a relief for Biden whose poll numbers have sagged in part over skyrocketing gas prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.