Biden raises human rights in call with Saudi King Salman


US President Joe Biden has talked by phone with King Salman of Saudi Arabia as he seeks to put relations with America’s old ally on a new footing. He “affirmed the importance” the US “places on universal human rights and the rule of law”, the White House said.

Mr Biden made the call after reading a forthcoming US report into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The report is expected to implicate the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He denies involvement.

Mr Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, pursued closer ties with Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration had rejected a legal requirement to release the report in declassified form, focusing instead on improved co-operation with the Saudis.

The White House says Mr Biden will “recalibrate” the relationship with Saudi Arabia.Khashoggi, a US-based journalist and critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, was murdered in 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, and his body dismembered.


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