Brother of Saudi Crown Prince MBS is in Washington a few months after condemning the U.S. intelligence report on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi Arabian Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman meets with top officials of the Biden administration in the United States a few months later a U.S. intelligence report he related his brother, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khalid bin Salman is expected to meet with Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan as well as U.S. Department of State and Defense officials, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday .
“They will discuss the long-standing collaboration between the United States and Saudi Arabia, regional security and the United States’ commitment to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory,” Psaki told reporters. that Khashoggi’s assassination would probably take place.
The high-level Saudi visit, which had not been announced in advance, comes after U.S. rights groups and lawmakers urged U.S. President Joe Biden to MBS sanction for his role in the assassination of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, and rethinking the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi was died in October 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to look for documents for his next marriage.
The U.S. unclassified intelligence report released in February found that MBS, the de facto ruler of the Gulf nation, had approved the operation that led to the assassination of Khashoggi by a Saudi squad within of the consulate. The Saudi government had previously denied that MBS had played any role in the assassination.
The country’s Foreign Ministry denounced the findings and said the report contained a “negative, false and unacceptable assessment … regarding the Kingdom’s leadership”, as well as “inaccurate information and conclusions”.
But the finds shook relationships between Riyadh and Washington, and put pressure on U.S. President Joe Biden, who was elected last year with the promise of putting human rights at the center of U.S. foreign policy.
The president of the United States has said he planned to “recalibrate” relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia and that he would communicate directly with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, not with his son, the Crown Prince.
Khalid bin Salman was the Saudi ambassador to Washington at the time of Khashoggi’s assassination.
When Khashoggi disappeared after going to the Saudi consulate in Turkey, Khalid bin Salman insisted for days that allegations of official Saudi involvement in the journalist’s disappearance were unfounded.
The Washington Post also reported that Khalid bin Salman had told Khashoggi to go to the consulate in Turkey to collect the necessary wedding papers and told him it would be safe to do so.
Citing a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Associated Press said Khalid bin Salman met briefly at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
The Saudi Deputy Defense Minister also held longer talks at the Pentagon with Colin Kahl, Undersecretary of Policy Defense, the official said.
Bin Salman will be in the State Department on Wednesday, spokesman Ned Price said.