(CNS News) — When asked whether it was appropriate for President Joe Biden to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said, “Saudi Arabia is a country we need to engage with.” A U.S. intelligence report found the crown prince, MBS, approved a plan to “capture or kill” Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.
At the U.S. Capitol on July 12, CNS News asked Senator Kelly, “Do you believe it’s appropriate for President Biden to travel to Saudi Arabia and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?”
Kelly said, “Hey, what MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] did is a horrific, horrific thing. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is a country we need to engage with.”
When President Joe Biden took office in 2020 he said he would impose travel bans and sanctions on Saudi Arabia as a result of the killing of Khashoggi. The columnist, a long-time critic of MBS, was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018
Biden imposed sanctions on those connected to the killing, but not on the crown prince. Biden also asserted he would make Saudi Arabia known as a “pariah” to other nations.
Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week places his administration in a precarious situation as it signals a clash between Biden’s past words and his current desire to find an ally in Saudi Arabia, according to the Washington Post.
Biden may be meeting with MBS to discuss the production of more oil to help satisfy U.S. demand. However, the administration has denied that oil is the reason for the visit.
On July 10, Biden wrote a commentary for the Washington Post defending his trip. “When I meet with Saudi leaders on Friday, my aim will be to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values,” he said.
The president also wrote, “My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad.”
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