On February 25th , President Biden made a phone call to King Salman to discuss state matters.
Present in the Oval Office for the call were Vice President Harris, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor.
The king and the President had already discussed Iran and Yemen, with Mr Biden emphasizing that Iran would not be allowed to have nuclear weapons which would pose a threat to the kingdom as well as other neighbor countries.
President – King Salman… we will be releasing an intelligence report on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Ankara, in October 2018.
King – We have been expecting it.
President – I want to make clear that the question of human rights will be high on my agenda during my term. We owe it to the world. From the start, I have sharply disagreed with the way my predecessor handled the assassination of Mr Khashoggi, a US resident and respected journalist and contributor to the Washington Post. It is inconceivable for us that such action would be carried out without the Prince’s consent.
King – I understand.
President – King Salman, did you know of the operation?
King – I did not.
President – For us to keep quiet about this would make our nation an accomplice. We cannot tolerate that.
King – I understand. As you know, Saudi Arabia is trying hard to become a modern nation, but there is much work to do. As long time allies, we ask for your patience and tolerance.
President – I welcome your government’s opening up opportunities for women. And the release of the young woman activist who had been held for a year. But she still will not be allowed to travel abroad.
King – Mr President, give us time. We want to join the rest of the world, we do. My son, the Prince, has good ideas. Due to my age, I am now 85, I’ve entrusted him with the day to day operations in the Kingdom, but I assure you that I have now resumed oversight of key decisions so as to prevent a repeat of what happened to Mr Khashoggi.
President – That is welcome news.
King – I have also considered, the possibility of reparations for the family of Mr Khashoggi and his fiancée and intend to pursue the matter.
President – I hope you will. It will not bring back Jamal Khashoggi but it is an acknowledgment of responsibility.
King – Yes. The actions were committed by Saudi Arabians in positions of influence, by Saudi Arabians in my service.
President – Thank you, King Salman. I look forward to a fruitful relationship. We will talk again. Best.
King – Good bye for now.
They hang up