Saturday Feb 27, 2021
The Saudi government has issued a statement rejecting a US intelligence report that says Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler approved an operation to capture or kill murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The Saudi government repeated its previous statements that Khashoggi’s killing was a heinous crime by a rogue group.
Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Saudi Arabia called the assessment in the US "negative, false and unacceptable".
“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry reiterated that the relationship between the Kingdom and the US is “a robust and enduring partnership.
Meanwhile, the US imposed sanctions on some of those involved but spared the crown prince himself in an effort to preserve relations with the kingdom.
U.S. President Joe Biden tried to make clear that killings of political opponents were not acceptable to the United States while preserving ties to the 35-year-old crown prince, who may rule one of the world’s top oil exporters for decades and be an important ally against common foe Iran.
In a television interview on Friday, Biden said he told Saudi King Salman that Saudi Arabia has to tackle human rights abuses as a precondition to dealing with the United States.
With additional input from Reuters