Donald Trump sought close contact with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That should change under the new US President Joe Biden. A spokeswoman announced the change of direction.
The US has announced a new approach to its relations with Saudi Arabia and intends to work directly with King Salman bin Abdulasis again in the future. “We made it clear from the start that we would recalibrate our relations with Saudi Arabia,” said President Jen Psaki on Tuesday. On the question of President Joe Biden’s first phone call with the ally, she said, “The president’s opposite number is King Salman and I expect he will have a conversation with him in due course.” She couldn’t say when this would happen.
International scandal over the murder of Khashoggi
The announcement is a break with the policies of Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump. His adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner had maintained close contact with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The heir to the throne is seen by many experts as the actual head of state of the kingdom instead of the 85-year-old king.
The crown prince’s international reputation was damaged by the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2018. The US-based journalist was a sharp critic of the Crown Prince. The US secret service CIA and some Western governments were convinced that Mohammed had ordered the murder. However, he had rejected all responsibility.
The Biden government is pushing Saudi Arabia to make progress on human rights. This includes the release of prisoners who campaigned for women’s rights.