President Joe Biden says the US will make an announcement on Saudi Arabia, following an intelligence report that found the crown prince had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
President Joe Biden has said his administration would make an announcement on Saudi Arabia on Monday, following a US intelligence report that found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Asked about punishing the crown prince, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, who is also known as MbS, Biden said on Saturday: "There will be an announcement on Monday as to what we are going to be doing with Saudi Arabia generally."
Biden did not provide details.
The Biden administration has faced some criticism, notably an editorial in the Washington Post, that the president should have been tougher on the crown prince, who was not sanctioned despite being blamed for approving Khashoggi's murder.
Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post critical of MbS policies, was killed and dismembered by a team of operatives linked to the prince in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Visa bans and sanctions
The Saudi government, which has denied any involvement by the crown prince, on Friday issued a statement rejecting the US report’s findings and repeating its previous statements that Khashoggi’s killing was a heinous crime by a rogue group.
Among the punitive steps the United States took on Friday was the imposition of a visa ban on some Saudis believed involved in the Khashoggi killing and sanctions on others, including a former deputy intelligence chief, which would freeze their US assets and generally bar Americans from dealing with them.
Former US President Donald Trump consistently sought to shield the Saudi leader from repercussions amid widespread bipartisan outcry by blocking the release of the CIA report.
Gulf allies back Riyadh
Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Saturday supported Saudi Arabia in rejecting the CIA report on Khashoggi.
In a statement, the Bahraini Foreign Ministry endorsed the Saudi rejection of the report, pointing out the “central role” played by Saudi Arabia on regional and international matters.
The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry, for its part, lauded the kingdom’s role in combating “violence and extremism and its relentless support for security and stability in the region and across the globe."
The UAE also defended Saudi Arabia, expressing confidence in the kingdom’s judiciary and its “commitment to enforcing the law in a transparent and impartial manner, and holding accountable all those involved in this case."
OIC sides with Saudi
The head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Yousef bin Ahmad Al Othaimeen, also voiced support for the Saudi statement.
According to a report by Saudi SPA News Agency, Al Othaimeen said he rejects the "inaccurate deductions cited in the report, which has no decisive proofs."
Al Othaimeen said he supports all judicial measures that have been taken against the culprits in the crime and against whom verdicts have been issued.