Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly pushed back against criticism from United States President Joe Biden in their meeting last Friday, when pressed on the killing of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. MBS attempted to assert the U.S. president has double standards on human rights.
Bin Salman stressed that other journalists had been killed throughout the world that year, yet their deaths did not seem to concern the U.S. government as much as Khashoggi's case.
According to a Saudi official who spoke with Al Arabiya, the crown prince mentioned the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank in May. A U.S. official told The Times of Israel that MBS asked Biden what he was doing to achieve justice for her, especially as a U.S. citizen.
MBS also invoked a series of reported human rights violations and torture by U.S. forces against detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison in the early stages of the Iraq war.
MBS noted that it is necessary that "countries deal with these mistakes and take measures to prevent them from happening again."
He also assured Biden that the Saudi kingdom has undertaken all legal proceedings related to Khashoggi's murder, including investigations, trials, sentencing, and the implementation of the sentences.
The president told reporters on Friday that the crown prince said in their meeting that he is "not personally responsible" for the killing of the Washington Post journalist.
"I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I thought of it now," Biden told reporters. "I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly: For an American president to remain silent on an issue of human rights would be inconsistent with who we are and who I am. I will always stand up for our values."
"He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it," Biden said of MBS. "I indicated that he was, and he said he was not personally responsible for it, and he took action against those who were responsible."
The meeting between the two leaders was described by Arabic media outlets as "frosty." In the U.S., the president has come under fire from progressives for holding the meeting and even traveling to the Gulf kingdom.
Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told ABC News on Sunday, "I just don't believe we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that."
This article originally appeared on ALL ARAB NEWS and is reposted with permission.