U.S. President Joe Biden has spoken to King Salman of Saudi Arabia by phone as he tries to place ties on a fresh basis with America’s old ally.
The White House notes that he “affirmed the importance” of the US “places on basic human rights and the rule of law.”
After reading a forthcoming US article on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Mr Biden made the call.
It is expected that the report, due to be published shortly, will include the son of the king, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Donald Trump, Mr. Biden’s predecessor, sought stronger relations with Saudi Arabia.
A legislative provision to release the study in a declassified form was refused by the Trump administration, relying instead on increased collaboration with the Saudis.
It is predicted that Mr Biden will take a far harder stand on some Saudi positions.
His skull was dismembered after Khashoggi was assassinated inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. The prince of the crown denies involvement.
A team of agents sent to return him to the kingdom blamed his death on a “rogue operation” by the Saudi authorities, and a Saudi court tried and sentenced five people to 20 years in prison last September, after originally sentencing them to death.
What did Biden say Exactly?
“In the White House speech, there was no mention of Khashoggi by name, but it said: “The President favorably acknowledged the recent release from detention of many Saudi-American activists and Ms. Loujain al-Hathloul, and reiterated the importance that the United States places on fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
After nearly three years in custody, Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain Hathloul was released this month but remained subject to a travel ban and was barred from talking to the media.
The two leaders addressed “the longstanding U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship” and the danger raised by pro-Iranian parties to Saudi Arabia.
The President assured King Salman that he will work to make as good and open a bilateral partnership as possible,” the statement added.”
“The two leaders reiterated the relationship’s historical existence and promised to work together on common matters of concern and importance.”