Biden questions Saudi account of Khashoggi murder discussions

July 17 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia differed on Saturday over their version of discussions at a bilateral summit over the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a major point of contention between the two countries.

US intelligence agencies believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, an informed Saudi turned critic who had been living in self-imposed exile in Virginia. The actual ruler of Saudi Arabia denies this.

Responding to reporters upon arriving at the White House from his first trip to the Middle East as president, Biden disputed the Saudi foreign minister’s account that he had not heard Biden blaming Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of the Washington Post columnist, a fierce critic of his homeland. Kingdom Saudi Arabia.

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Asked if Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir was telling the truth in the narration of the conversation that took place between Biden and the crown prince, the president said “no.”

Al-Jubeir said that the crown prince, known as Mohammed bin Salman, told Biden that the kingdom had acted to prevent mistakes such as the Khashoggi killing being repeated and that the United States had also made mistakes. Read more

The minister told Fox News on Saturday that he “didn’t hear that particular phrase” from Biden as he blamed the crown prince.

A Saudi official who was present at the meeting said that the exchange was not what President Biden described and that the discussion about Khashoggi took place before the official meeting “in an informal way.”

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The official said he had not heard the president telling the crown prince that he held him responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

Biden was asked if he regretted exchanging the first bump with Mohammed bin Salman on Friday, and he replied, “Why don’t you guys talk about something important? I’m happy to answer an important question.”

(Corrects this story to remove the mention that Khashoggi is a US citizen in the second paragraph)

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(Additional reporting by Shivam Patel in Bengaluru and Aziz Al Yaqobi.) Editing by William Mallard and Raisa Kasulowski

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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