A senior official in the Biden administration hosted a brother on Tuesday Saudi Arabia Powerful crown prince, Mohamed Bin SalmanThis is the highest level of such visits known since the results of a public intelligence investigation in the United States linked the crown prince to the killing of journalists Jamal Khashoggi.
The Biden administration did not publicly disclose in advance the visit of Prince Khalid bin Salman, Deputy Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia. During the presidential campaign, President Joe Biden promised to “untouch” the crown prince of the kingdom over the death of Khashoggi and other abuses, but his government instead emphasized the strategic interests of the United States and Saudi Arabia.
At a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the meeting was in progress and said officials may propose killings.
An official who asked not to be named said that Khalid bin Salman had a brief meeting at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to discuss an undisclosed meeting. The official said that the Saudi prince had a longer meeting at the Pentagon with Colin Carr, the deputy defense secretary in charge of policy.
Two other U.S. officials, who asked not to be named, said that Khalid bin Salman will also hold talks with national security adviser Jack Sullivan, State Department Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Newland, and adviser Derek Jolay. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have the right to discuss the visit.
The Americans and the prince are expected to discuss issues including the Yemen war, military contracts, and Saudi concerns about the United States’ efforts to restore the Iran nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia’s rival.
An unnamed State Department spokesperson said because he did not have the right to discuss the matter publicly, the government has made it clear that it considers Khashoggi’s killing to be unacceptable. The spokesperson said that the United States will continue to raise human rights issues at the highest level.
The Murder of Jamal Khashoggi: The Biden Administration “realigned” its relations with Saudi Arabia
The Saudi government did not immediately comment publicly on the visit.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post who criticized Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by Saudi officials at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Khashoggi, based in Washington, DC, has gone to the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding.
The State Department spokesperson did not answer questions on Tuesday about why they did not announce the visit of Saudi officials in advance.
Two years later, human rights activists and journalists demanded justice for Jamal Khashoggi
They also did not answer whether the Biden administration believed that Khalid bin Salman had no role in the Saudi organization behind Khashoggi’s killing, or decided that the interests of the United States required Biden officials to meet with senior officials of the Saudi royal family. Although the government publicly condemned the killing
As the crown prince’s younger brother, Prince Khalid was the kingdom’s ambassador to Washington at the time, but was recalled shortly after Khashoggi was killed by the anger of the two parties in the United States. When Khashoggi went missing after going to the Saudi consulate in Turkey, Khalid bin Salman insisted for several days that the accusation of Saudi official involvement in his disappearance was baseless.
The Washington Post reported that Khalid bin Salman told Khashoggi to go to the Turkish consulate to collect the necessary marriage documents and told him it was safe to do so.
Aya Batrawy of Dubai and Zeke Miller of Washington contributed to this report.
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