Biden speaks to Saudi King

Conversation comes ahead of release of intelligence report expected to state that Saudi Crown Prince ordered killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Elad Benari ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Reuters

US President Joe Biden spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Thursday, CNN reported.

The conversation came ahead of the release of the long-awaited US intelligence report on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The report is expected to state that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved and likely ordered the 2018 killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

According to CNN, the congressionally mandated release of the report is expected to take place imminently now that Biden and the King have spoken.

The call "went well," according to a source close to the Saudi government. White House officials had said the Khashoggi report would not be released until that call had taken place.

A readout from the US made no direct reference to the Khashoggi report or to the Saudi Crown Prince, but noted that Biden emphasized importance of human rights and rule of law, according to NBC News.

Saudi Arabia has admitted that Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, after initially denying Turkish claims that he was murdered.

The report's release will be the latest shift Biden is making, with support from Congress, in relations with US ally Saudi Arabia, noted CNN. Democratic lawmakers are expected to introduce a resolution on Friday to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for Khashoggi's death and dismemberment as well as other human rights violations.

Khashoggi’s murder resulted in tensions between lawmakers and the White House. Trump had reaffirmed his support for Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of Khashoggi, insisting the US-Saudi Arabian alliance is beneficial not only for American interests, but also for those of Israel.

Lawmakers from both parties, meanwhile, had called for a strong US response to Khashoggi's murder.



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