Biden, Saudi king speak ahead of Khashoggi murder report

26 Février, 2021, 18:43 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018

Joe Biden had his first known conversation as president with the Saudi Arabian king at a time of tensions over the expected release of a declassified USA intelligence report examining any role the king's son played in the brutal killing of a us -based journalist.

Saudi state media reported on Thursday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, has left a hospital in Riyadh after a successful surgery for appendicitis.

A classified version of the report was completed shortly after Khashoggi was lured into a Saudi consulate in Turkey and killed by a team of assassins on October 2, 2018.

The Washington Post columnist, a critic of the Crown Prince, was murdered and dismembered by a team of assassins. His secretary of state, Michael Pompeo, said the USA had "no direct evidence" linking the prince to the murder and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner maintained a close working relationship with him.

The US intelligence community was set to release a long-awaited report with new public details about those behind the death of Khashoggi on Thursday.

The report's release is part of U.S. president Joe Biden's policy to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia over its human rights record and intervention in Yemen's civil war.

The release of the declassified report on his death is part of Biden's recalibration of U.S. -Saudi relations in part over Khashoggi's murder. His remains have never been found.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2021.

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It is not clear whether Biden would be opposed to having the crown prince in the room for his call with King Salman. "We're still in the process of scheduling when that will happen", says White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki.

What I do have is evidence suggesting that the responsibilities of high-level officials may be engaged, and therefore is requiring further investigation, in particular of the Crown Prince, for a variety of reasons.

CNN reported on Thursday that the release of the report has been postponed until after the United States and Saudi leaders hold their conversation.

But Biden appears to be interested in threading the needle - promoting accountability for Khashoggi's grisly murder and the Saudi government's air war in neighboring Yemen, while also maintaining the close ties with a key regional partner.

Saudi courts sentenced to death five people who allegedly were involved in Khashoggi's death, but those sentences later were converted to 20 years in prison.

One of Biden's first actions in office was to end American participation in offensive military operations in Yemen, where until now the United States was assisting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in increasingly deadly airstrikes.

Agnes Callamard, who investigated the killing for the United Nations, accused Saudi Arabia of a "deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under worldwide human rights law".

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