Tough talk


US President Joe Biden said he told Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman he held him responsible for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, shortly after exchanging a fist bump with the kingdom’s de facto ruler. On a trip to reset relations with a country he had called a pariah after Khashoggi’s killing in 2018, Biden said the crown prince, known as MbS, denied involvement in the murder and said he had held those responsible to account.

“With respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think about it now,” Biden said. “I was straight forward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am.” US intelligence says the crown prince approved an operation to capture or kill Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic, who was murdered and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Biden said what happened to Khashoggi was outrageous.