Americas, Middle East

Biden's counterpart is King Salman: White House

Two leaders will have conversation at 'appropriate time,' says White House press secretary

Servet Günerigök   | 16.02.2021
Biden's counterpart is King Salman: White House

WASHINGTON 

US President Joe Biden's counterpart in Saudi Arabia is King Salman not Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, a White House press secretary said Tuesday.

"We've made clear from the beginning that we're going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia," said Jen Psaki at a news conference.

In response to a question whether Biden will speak to the crown prince, she said: "Part of that is going back to engagement counterpart-to-counterpart.

"The president’s counterpart is King Salman," she added.

The two leaders will have a conversation at an "appropriate time," according to Psaki.

Saudi Arabia, under the rule of bin Salman, enjoyed a close relationship with former President Donald Trump's administration but Psaki's remarks suggest a reassessment of ties with the Kingdom.

Biden administration is "prepared" to release an unclassified report detailing its understanding of who is responsible for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was brutally killed and likely dismembered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, and while Saudi officials initially denied any role in his death they later sought to pin blame on what they said was a botched rendition operation.

That explanation has been widely rejected by both the UN, and US lawmakers, and the CIA reportedly concluded in its still classified report that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered his killing.

During his time in office, Trump had consistently sought to shield the Saudi leader from repercussions amid widespread bipartisan outcry.


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