Joe Biden said Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Joe Biden said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Following a fist bump with the country’s de facto ruler, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to U.S. President Joe Biden, was informed on Friday that he was held accountable for the death of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi. 

After Khashoggi’s murder in 2018, Biden traveled to a nation he had previously labeled a pariah. Biden said the crown prince, also known as MbS, denied any participation in the assassination and claimed he had held those responsible accountable.

According to Biden, “I brought up the Khashoggi murder at the beginning of the discussion, making it plain what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it today.”

“I discussed it in a straightforward and direct manner. My point of view was really apparent. I made it very clear that it was incongruous with who I am and who we are for an American president to be mute on a human rights problem.”

According to U.S. intelligence, Saudi insider-turned-critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul. 

The crown prince reportedly gave the go-ahead for an operation to either arrest or kill him. Biden referred to Khashoggi’s treatment as reprehensible.

In answer to the question during their discussion, the crown prince “essentially replied that he was not directly responsible for it,” according to Biden. “I said that I believed he was.” 

The president said they also spoke about energy and that he anticipated Saudi Arabia, a significant oil producer, to take action on power in the coming weeks.

As a presidential candidate, Biden had said that the murder of Khashoggi should make the country a “pariah” on the international scene. On Friday, he said he had no regrets about his remark.

At the beginning of Biden’s Middle East visit, authorities had advised him to avoid personal contact, such as shaking hands, as a safety measure against COVID-19. But the president also ended up shaking hands with people in Israel.

Immediate criticism of Biden’s interactions with the crown prince came from domestic sources, including The Washington Post and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Khashoggi had been exiled to Virginia on his terms. Hatice Cengiz, the late journalist’s fiancée, tweeted a picture of the fist bump and said that Khashoggi would have written: “Is this the restitution you promised for killing me? You are responsible for MBS’s next victims’ blood.” In Jeddah, Biden expressed his regret to the media for how she felt.

At the start of the meeting, American journalists yelled questions about Khashoggi at the crown prince. One yelled, “Will you apologize to his family?” 

Salman did not answer and grinned slightly as the reporters were escorted out of the room, with the Saudi energy minister sitting next to him.