Biden Faces Criticism of his Middle East Visit

US President Joe Biden has been criticised for greeting the Saudi crown prince (MBS) – whom US intelligence agencies concluded was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 – with a fist bump when he arrived for the meetings.

As a candidate for president in 2019, Biden promised to treat the kingdom as a “pariah” over the journalist’s killing, and his administration had initially said that he would only deal with his direct counterpart, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

“It projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking,” said Fred Ryan, publisher of the Washington Post newspaper where Khashoggi worked at the time of his death. The Committee to Project Journalists also said it was “appalled” by Biden’s “failure” to hold the crown prince accountable.

Biden said he brought up the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the top of a meeting with senior Saudi officials and said he also discussed human rights “and the need for political reform” during the talks.

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