The president stressed that he does not regret labeling the crown prince a ‘pariah’ after the 2018 slaying
US President Joe Biden said he confronted Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, insisting the royal was personally responsible for the killing.
Biden, speaking to reporters after his sit-down on Friday with bin Salman, stated that he had raised this issue “at the top of the meeting”And he made his stance “crystal clear.”
“I said very straightforwardly: For an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights, is this consistent with – inconsistent with who we are and who I am? I’ll always stand up for our values,”He stated.
While, according to Biden, the prince denied any direct part in Khashoggi’s murder – which took place in a Saudi diplomatic building in Turkey in October 2018 – the president went on to say he “indicated that [bin Salman] probably was” involved after all.
Asked about recent comments from Khashoggi’s widow, who said “the blood of MbS’s next victim is on [Biden’s] hands,”He replied simply “I’m sorry she feels that way,”Said he was not sorry for dubbing the prince. “pariah”During 2020’s presidential election.
“Do I regret it? I don’t regret anything that I said. What happened to Khashoggi was outrageous,”He added.
The president has come under fire for continuing the close US-Saudi relationship despite repeated charges of serious rights abuses within the Gulf monarchy, chief among them Khashoggi’s brutal assassination, which the CIA concluded was ordered by bin Salman himself.
Upon his arrival at Al Salman Palace, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday, Biden was photographed giving a friendly fist-bump to the prince, a gesture harshly condemned by Khashoggi’s former fiancee.
“Hey POTUS, is this the accountability you promised for my murder?”She wrote the letter, speaking apparently from the viewpoint of her deceased spouse while sharing a photograph of the fist bump.
Biden, however, insisted that his visit to Saudi Arabia wasn’t to meet with the prince. “to meet with the [Gulf Cooperation Council] and nine nations to deal with the security… and the needs of the free world.”
He made a similar argument in a recent Washington Post op-ed ahead of his travels, where he outlined a variety of reasons to visit the kingdom, including regional security, rising gas prices, Russia’s “aggression”Ukraine, competition with China
Biden tries to justify a Saudi Arabia trip