Biden defends Saudi Arabia visit despite Khashoggi killing


The president repeated his assertion that the aim of his journey to Saudi Arabia is as a substitute a broader assembly with regional Persian Gulf leaders to handle power and safety points.

“The explanation I’m going to Saudi Arabia is to advertise U.S. pursuits in a approach that I believe we’ve a chance to reassert our affect within the Center East,” he stated.

The president’s journey to the oil-rich kingdom, the place he may even meet with leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, comes as fuel costs have spiked throughout the U.S., peaking earlier this summer season at a nationwide common of greater than $5 per gallon. Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby stated final month that growing oil manufacturing would “completely” be a subject of dialogue when Biden meets with Saudi management, as will “destabilizing” regional habits from Iran and the dominion’s involvement within the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

Nonetheless, Biden has confronted criticism over his obvious about-face on Saudi Arabia, a nation that the president as soon as pledged to make a “pariah” over, amongst different points, the homicide of Khashoggi, a Washington Submit journalist and U.S. resident who was dismembered inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A U.S. intelligence report launched by the Biden administration stated bin Salman authorized the operation to kill Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Kingdom’s authorities.

Seeking to mood criticism from the Saudi journey, Biden administration officers met earlier this week with Khashoggi’s widow, Hanan Elatr Khashoggi. A consultant for the widow would solely say that she met with “senior officers” — not Biden himself — however relayed the broader content material of what was mentioned.

Amongst her particular requests had been to push for the discharge of all political prisoners being held in Saudi Arabia, together with their shut buddy, Saudi economist Essam Al-Zamil. She additionally conveyed her because of the president for pushing human rights points and for releasing the intelligence report round her husband’s loss of life.

“It was vital for Mrs. Khashoggi to have the ability to categorical precisely what Jamal would have needed if he had been alive at present, notably proper earlier than President Biden’s departure to Saudi Arabia,” stated her lawyer, Randa Fahmy. “This assembly is only the start of her lengthy highway to closure amid her grief. A part of that closure can be to carry all events accountable for the loss of life of her husband.”

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