Biden raises Khashoggi murder, MBS cites ‘US mistakes’ in reply

JEDDAH: US President Joe Biden said on Friday he told Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman he held him responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, shortly after exchanging a fist bump with the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
On a trip to reset relations with a country he had called a pariah after Khashoggi’s killing in 2018, Biden said the crown prince, known as MbS, denied involvement in the murder and said he had held those responsible to account. “With respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think about it now,” Biden told reporters.
“I was straight forward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am. ” US intelligence says the crown prince approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic, who was murdered and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Biden said what happened to Khashoggi was outrageous. “He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it,” Biden said of the crown prince’s response during their meeting. “I indicated that I thought he was. ”
Of the conversation, Saudi minister of state for foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said “the President raised the issue . . . And the crown prince responded that this was a painful episode for Saudi Arabia and that it was a terrible mistake”, and added that the US had also made mistakes, including in Iraq. Jubeir said MbS had made the case that trying to impose values on other countries by force could backfire. “It has not worked when the US tried to impose values on Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, it backfired,” he quoted the crown prince as telling Biden. “Countries have different values and those values should be respected!” .
MbS also cited the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison by US military personnel and the May killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank as incidents that reflected poorly on the US, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, foreign minister, said.

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