News ID: 103303
Publish Date : 05 June 2022 - 21:50

RIYADH (Middle East Eye) – Saudi activists and rights groups have condemned the upcoming visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia, saying the president is betraying his values by meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of rights abuses including murder, torture, and the killing of civilians in the Yemen war.
Several reports have indicated that the U.S. president will be travelling to Saudi Arabia later this month where he will meet with bin Salman, who is also known by his initials MBS. In speaking with reporters on Friday, he confirmed that he would be travelling to the region at some point.
“Saudi Arabia would be included in that if I did go, but I have no direct plans at the moment,” Biden said, claiming that he was still committed to human rights.
Abdullah Alaoudh, a Saudi academic who is also the son of jailed Islamic scholar Salman al-Awda, said he and other Saudi activists felt “betrayed by Biden”.
“President Biden came into office promising accountability for the crown prince’s reign of terror. But with one fell swoop, Biden is gambling all hope of justice for MBS’s countless victims like my father,” Alaoudh told Middle East Eye.
“It was salt in the wound when Trump bragged about ‘saving [MBS’s] @$$.’ But how is Biden any better if he kisses the ring of this murderer, this torturer, this war criminal and autocrat?
“If Biden gives him the U.S. meeting MBS so desperately wants, the bloody handshake will send a clear message to tyrants everywhere: you can always count on America to betray its values and reward bad behavior.”
The planned visit comes as the U.S. president is seeking to secure lower fuel prices and shore up support for isolating Russia after the conflict in Ukraine.
The meeting with MBS will mark a stark contrast to when Biden said he was looking to “recalibrate” the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, and said that he would only speak directly with MBS’s father, the ailing King Salman.
U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia have been strained since the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a critic of bin Salman at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

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