Biden Speaks With Saudi King Ahead of U.S.’s Khashoggi Report


President Joe Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday for the first time since taking office, ahead of the expected release of a U.S. report critical of the the kingdom’s role in the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

Biden discussed regional security and the renewed U.S. and UN effort to end the war in Yemen, and “affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law,” the White House said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said the U.S. will “recalibrate” its relationship with Saudi Arabia, whose leaders were close to former President Donald Trump.

The U.S. government is expected to soon release a declassified intelligence report into the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, who was murdered by Saudi agents at the country’s consulate in Istanbul. The attack is widely believed to have been ordered by Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who has denied personal knowledge of the plot.

Psaki has said Biden will deal with King Salman rather than the crown prince, who is considered Saudi Arabia’s effective head of state because of his father’s declining health.

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