Biden says he will hold Saudi Arabia accountable for HR abuses

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 3, 2021

"We are urging Saudi Arabia to take additional steps to lift travel bans on those released to commute sentences and resolve cases such as those of women's rights activists and others", Price said.

Khashoggi, a USA resident who wrote critically of the crown prince in columns for the Washington Post, was killed during a meeting with Saudi agents in Turkey to pick up documents that would allow him to marry his fiancée.

Khashoggi, a USA resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of the crown prince's policies, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Cengiz, a Turkish citizen, was waiting for Khashoggi outside when he made his fateful trip to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

"The truth - that was already known - has been revealed one more time", Khashoggi's fiancee, Turkish national Hatice Cengiz, said in a statement which criticised a lack of United States sanctions against Prince Mohammed in light of the findings.

Human rights groups, as well as some Democratic lawmakers, have called on the Biden administration to do more to hold MBS accountable, especially given the president's campaign pledge to make Saudi Arabia "pay the price" for killing Khashoggi.

"It is essential that the crown prince. should be punished without delay", Hatice Cengiz said on Twitter.

He had gone to the consulate to pick up paperwork relating to their planned marriage, but once inside he was confronted and killed by Saudi operatives. But his approach also recognizes the power of a crown prince regarded as reckless and ruthless in Washington - but who could soon be king of a longtime United States ally.

Saudi Arabian courts a year ago announced they had sentenced eight Saudi nationals to prison. Saudi Arabia, however, had dismissed the report calling it "negative, false and unacceptable".

But the USA stopped short of applying sanctions against the 35-year-old de facto leader, known by his initials MBS.

Mr Biden has previously criticised Saudi Arabia, but in some contexts, the White House also regards it as a strategic partner.

Biden has sanctioned 76 Saudis involved in harassing activists and journalists, and plans to recalibrate the U.S. relationship with the kingdom.

"We are very focused on future conduct", State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Monday.

As a presidential candidate, Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank that Trump "defended not the slain U.S. resident" - Khashoggi had been living and writing in the USA at the time of his murder - "but his killers".

"Family members of such individuals also may be subject to visa restrictions under this policy, where appropriate".

Malik said Saudi Arabia, which has relied on the United States for its defense including during the first Gulf War and after 2019 attacks on its massive oil infrastructure, could look to China and Russian Federation for weapons.

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