Monday, August 8, 2022

Biden says he brought up Khashoggi killing with Saudi crown prince

In a late-night news conference from Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden said he confronted Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman about the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist whose death US intelligence found was carried out at behest of the Saudi de facto ruler.

Biden, who arrived on Friday for a controversial visit to the Saudi kingdom, said he mentioned Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who worked for The Washington Post, as soon as he sat down with the crown prince.

“I brought it up at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought at the time and what I think now,” the president told reporters. “I was simple and direct in discussing it. I made my point of view crystal clear. I said very bluntly: For an American president to be silent on a human rights issue is inconsistent with who we are and who I am. I will always defend our values.”

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“He basically said he wasn’t personally responsible for it. I indicated that I thought he was,” Biden said of his discussions of Khashoggi’s death with the Crown Prince.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Crown Prince Mohammed denied involvement in the murder, which Biden said he denied.

“He basically said he wasn’t personally responsible for it. I indicated that I thought he was,” the president said.

Biden was visibly frustrated when a reporter asked him how he could be sure another Khashoggi killing would not happen again.

Khashoggi's fiancée sharply criticized Biden for his seemingly friendly handshake with bin Salman on Friday.
Khashoggi’s fiancée sharply criticized Biden for his seemingly friendly handshake with bin Salman on Friday.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“God loves you. What a dumb question. How can I be sure about any of that?” Biden snapped back.

A reporter also pressed Biden to respond to comments by Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who did not approve of Biden visiting the country and was especially outraged when photos surfaced of the president and bin Salman bumping fists when they met on Friday. “The blood of the next MBS victim is on your hands,” she said. tweeted in the president

“I’m sorry that she feels that way,” Biden said, saying this trip was not just about meeting the Crown Prince, but meeting with the nine Middle Eastern nations that lead the world in oil production, discussing security concerns and ensure safety. The United States does not “leave a vacuum” in that part of the world.

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Nation World News Desk
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