White House’s Sullivan to travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel

By Thomson Reuters May 14, 2024 | 1:24 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan plans to travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend, a U.S. official said on Tuesday as Israeli tanks pushed deeper into eastern Rafah, stoking fears of additional civilian deaths.

Additional details on his trip were not available.

The visit comes as the United States continues to press Israel to hold off on a major military ground incursion into Rafah, one of the border crossings in Gaza where more than a million people had been sheltering.

U.S. and Israeli officials were scheduled to hold additional in-person discussions on Rafah but weeks have past without a new date being set.

Israel’s international allies and aid groups have repeatedly warned against a major ground incursion into refugee-packed Rafah, where Israel says four Hamas battalions are holed up.

“We’re going to continue to have conversations obviously with the Israeli government,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing.

“Those conversations continue and they have been constructive,” she said, noting Sullivan said this week he expects in-person conversations to happen in the upcoming days.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Eric Beech)