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MBS hits back at Biden after president confronts Saudi prince over Khashoggi



During the meeting, Bin Salman, also known as MBS, denied any responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Biden said he indicated he disagreed with MBS, based on US intelligence assessments, the source said.
In response to Biden bringing up Khashoggi, MBS 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 misrepresented the United States, the source said.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir echoed that sentiment in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer shortly after the meeting, which Jubeir was part of, ended.

“We have investigated, punished and ensured that this never happens again,” Jubeir said when asked about Khashoggi’s murder. “That’s what countries do. That’s what the United States did when the Abu Ghraib mistake was made.”

Abu Ghraib prison was a US military detention center for captured Iraqis from the start of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 until the prison was closed in 2006. In 2004, a mine of graphic images from the prison has been leaked, depicting torture and sex. abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US military personnel. Eleven US soldiers have been convicted of crimes related to the scandal.
Renowned Al Jazeera journalist Abu Akleh was shot dead in an Israeli military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Abu Akleh was a household name in the Arab world, having spent decades reporting on the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Footage obtained by CNN — corroborated by testimony from eight eyewitnesses, an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert — suggests that Abu Akleh, who was wearing a helmet and a blue protective vest that read “Press” at the time of his assassination, was shot down in a targeted attack by Israeli forces.

In the West Bank on Friday, Biden said the United States insisted on a “full and transparent accounting” of the journalist’s murder.

Biden called Abu Akleh’s death a “huge loss” as he stood alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.

“I hope his legacy (…) will inspire more young people to continue his work of reporting the truth and telling stories too often overlooked. The United States will continue to insist on full and transparent reporting. of his death and continue to champion media freedom around the world,” Biden said.

Palestinian officials and family members of Abu Akleh have criticized the US investigation and are urging the United States to do more to hold Israel accountable for the killing.

An image of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is placed on a chair during a press conference by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Joe Biden in Bethlehem, West Bank, July 15, 2022.

Khashoggi elevated to top of Biden-MBS meeting

In a quickly organized speech after Biden’s bilateral talks with MBS, the president said he brought up Khashoggi’s murder at the start of the meeting.

“As for the Khashoggi murder, I raised it at the top of the meeting, stating what I thought about it then and what I think about it now,” Biden told reporters. “I was frank and direct in discussing it. I made my point of view very clear.”

But the discussion of human rights appears to have been overshadowed by broader discussions of energy security, regional stability, trade and investment, according to several officials. Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the war in Yemen were also reportedly key points in the talks.

“Those responsible (for Khashoggi’s murder) have been investigated and faced justice and are paying the price for their crime,” Jubeir said on CNN of the discussion. “The conversation has evolved in terms of official discussion.”

On Saturday, senior administration officials defended Biden’s decision to meet with MBS face-to-face, despite fierce backlash and criticism, saying it would have been “a setback if the president hadn’t come to the region.” and it would be a setback if he didn’t.” ‘t and was unwilling to sit down and raise human rights concerns with foreign leaders around the world. »

“It’s hard to say that values ​​are going to be a key part of your foreign policy and that human rights are important to us as a nation and certainly as an administration, and then not to go to the foreigner and not speak (to leaders) in a frank and forthright manner about it concerns,” a senior administration official said.

Biden came to Jeddah seeking solutions to one of his main political problems at home – exorbitant gas prices – as diplomacy with Saudi Arabia in the Middle East was seen as one of the few avenues he could borrow to bring down the prices that are straining millions of Americans.

But White House officials have said the president will not return to Washington on Saturday with explicit increases in oil production. There are expected to be increases in the coming months – against the backdrop of increased production levels from the OPEC+ cartel presented at its August meeting.



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