Biden said he rebuked the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder
President Biden said Friday night that he brought up the murder of Jamal Khashoggi during a closed-door meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and told the crown prince he considered him to be to blame.
While Mr. Biden said nothing about Mr. Khashoggi in public during his meeting with the crown prince, he told reporters afterward that he considered the murder “outrageous” and confronted Crown Prince Mohammed, who was assessed by the CIA as responsible for the assassination. was carried out in Istanbul by a Saudi task force in 2018.
“I raised it at the beginning of the meeting, stating what I thought at the time and what I think about it now,” Biden said. “I was frank and forthright when I discussed it. I made my point clear. I have said very frankly that it is inconsistent with who we are and who I am for an American president to be silent on human rights issues. I always defend our values”.
He reported that Crown Prince Mohammed, more commonly known by his initials MBS, denied any wrongdoing.
“He’s basically saying he’s not personally responsible for that,” Biden said. “I pointed out that I thought it was him.”
Saudi officials contradicted his account. Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, told reporters he did not hear Mr Biden tell the crown prince he was responsible, instead describing a brief exchange and less controversial, focusing on human rights without focusing on killing.
Mr Jubeir called Khashoggi’s murder “a terrible mistake”, but added that the two countries had moved on. “Everybody was put on trial,” he said, referring to his subordinates convicted in the case. “We have individuals who are paying the price.”
Mr. Khashoggi is a contributor to Saudi Arabia’s The Washington Post, who has criticized the prince’s right to rule. After being killed, Mr. Biden said he would make Saudi Arabia a “defender,” but aides say world events have left him with no choice but to confront him. deal with the kingdom.
When asked about that comment on Friday, he said, “I don’t regret anything I said.”
But Biden’s decision to meet the crown prince has outraged human rights activists and Mr. Khashoggi’s family. Hatice Cengiz, his fiancée, tweeted what she said Mr. Khashoggi would think: “Is this the responsibility you promised for my murder? The blood of the next MBS victims is on your hand. “
Fred Ryan, publisher of the Post, was equally scathing. “The collision between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman was worse than a handshake – shameful,” he said in a statement. “It envisages a level of intimacy and comfort that gives MBS the unwarranted redemption he has so desperately sought.”