Biden stresses on Human Rights on call with Saudi King
The president’s warning came after a newly declassified intelligence report concluded that the kingdom’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is likely to have approved an operation to kill or capture a US-based journalist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
President Joe Biden called it “outrageous” that Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed off on the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden said in an interview with Univision News that he had told Saudi King Salman this week “that the rules are changing” in the kingdom’s relationship with the U.S. and that “we’re going to be announcing significant changes today and on Monday.”
Khashoggi, a US-based journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, was murdered in 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, and his body dismembered. Saudi authorities blamed his death on a “rogue operation” by a team of agents sent to return him to the kingdom, and a Saudi court tried and sentenced five individuals to 20 years in prison last September, after initially sentencing them to death.
The White House has already downgraded relations with 35-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed, who has been the public face of the Saudi kingdom since becoming crown prince in 2017. The administration has made clear that Biden views the aging King Salman as his counterpart and will conduct relations through him.
The crown prince enjoyed high level access to U.S. officials during the Trump administration through his personal ties with members of President Donald Trump’s family, particularly Jared Kushner.