Saudi crown prince planning international trip soon – sources

Riyadh (Reuters) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning a trip to Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and Egypt where he will discuss regional and international issues and ink agreements in energy and trade, four sources familiar with the plans said on Monday.

Saudi officials are still discussing the exact dates with the countries the crown prince is visiting, the sources said. Two of them added that the trip could happen as soon as early June.

The Saudi government’s media office did not respond to a Reuters’ query on the planned tour.

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul had sparked a furor in the West, but some Western leaders have since visited Riyadh, including France’s president and Greece’s prime minister last year as well as the president of Cyprus earlier this year.

Turkey’s president visited the kingdom last month in the first high-level trip in years after intense efforts to mend ties that included dropping a Turkish trial over the killing of Khashoggi.

One of the sources, a senior Turkish official, said Prince Mohammed, the kingdom’s ruler, accepted President Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation to visit and both sides were working to schedule it.

“Topics to be discussed are bilateral trade, regional developments, the possible (currency) swap deal and other investment and energy projects,” the official said.

Prince Mohammed’s last tour was of fellow Gulf Arab states last year.

His planned international trip comes at a time when Washington is working to ease tension with Riyadh. Longstanding U.S.-Saudi relations under U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration have been strained over the Yemen war and global efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal.