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World News24

World News24

World News24

Biden disputes Saudi account of accusing crown prince of Khashoggi’s murder

Posted on July 18 2022, 15:21pm

Biden disputes Saudi account of accusing crown prince of Khashoggi’s murder

WASHINGTON: President Biden early Sunday disputed an account that he did not accuse Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a private meeting with the nation’s de facto leader on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, who was present during the meeting with the crown prince, said Biden did not confront the crown prince about Khashoggi’s murder.

Speaking to reporters after he returned from his trip to the Middle East, Biden responded, “No” when asked if the foreign minister was telling the truth.

Biden on Friday said he raised the 2018 murder and added that he told the crown prince he thought he was responsible for it.

“I indicated I thought he was,” Biden said. “He said he was not personally responsible for it and he took action against those who were responsible.”  

Weeks ahead of departing on the trip, the president was criticized for appearing to curry favor with a controversial leader with a dismal human rights record in order to possibly ramp up oil production to lower gas prices during an election year.

U.S. intelligence has concluded the crown prince was behind the brutal slaying of Khashoggi in a report that Biden agreed to publicize.

Biden was photographed fist-bumping the crown prince at the royal palace in Jeddah, drawing a round of criticism, including from Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan, who said it “projected a level of intimacy” far worse than a handshake.

“The first bump between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman was worse than a handshake — it was shameful,” Ryan said in a statement.

Biden on Sunday also deflected the accusations about the fist bump.

“Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters?” the president told reporters when asked if he regretted the greeting. “I’m happy to answer a question that matters.”

Biden emerged from the meeting without an immediate deliverable on oil production but said he was optimistic about developments in the coming weeks.

The White House is eyeing an August meeting with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a group that influences global oil supply and of which Saudi Arabia is a de facto leader.

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