- Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered in October 2018
President Joe Biden spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Thursday ahead of the release of a long-awaited US intelligence report on the killing of Saudi insider turned dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
The congressionally mandated release of the report, which is expected to further implicate Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Washington Post columnist’s death, is expected to take place imminently now that Biden and the King have spoken.
There was no mention of Khashoggi on the White House readout of the call, which said Biden welcomed the release of several Saudi-American activists and “affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law.”
When asked on Thursday by a reporter if it was a good call, the President replied, “Yes.” A source close to the Saudi government told CNN it “went well.” White House officials had said the report would not be released until the call had taken place.
The report’s release will be just the latest shift Biden is making, with support from Congress, in relations with US ally Saudi Arabia. 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.
Biden and administration officials have stressed that they are committed to the kingdom’s security. At the same time, the President has ended US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen launched by the crown prince six years ago.
Biden has also ordered an end to some weapons sales to the kingdom and will soon release the report, which is expected to highlight the prince’s lawless abuse of fundamental human rights.
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