US report on Khashoggi death expected to single out Saudi crown prince

  • US report on Khashoggi death expected to single out Saudi crown prince

US report on Khashoggi death expected to single out Saudi crown prince

A declassified version of a US intelligence report expected to be released on Thursday finds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, four usa officials familiar with the matter said.

The declassified report is expected to complicate relations with a key Middle Eastern ally with expectations that Central Intelligence Agency conclusions will point a finger directly at the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would only be dealing with his counterpart, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, not MBS, and that a phone call between the two leaders was expected soon.

Whatever decision Biden makes could decide the fate of the relationship with one of the United States' key Arab allies.

The US president stressed the importance of human rights and vowed to make the relationship between the two countries stronger and more transparent.

In a statement describing the call, the White House did not mention the Khashoggi report.

Following worldwide pressure, Saudi Arabia eventually admitted that Khashoggi was killed by the intelligence operatives but argued that the killing was the result of an extradition operation that went wrong.

But the administration of then-President Donald Trump - a staunch supporter of MBS - refused to release the unclassified report, saying doing so could compromise the DNI's sources and methods. "There is sufficient credible evidence regarding the responsibility of the crown prince demanding further investigation", said Callamard, calling for further investigation.

Biden pledged during the 2020 presidential campaign to reassess U.S. -Saudi ties in part over Khashoggi's murder. Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said he understood the administration to be considering new sanctions to accompany release of the report.

"We also have a crown prince that's out of control", Sen.

The CIA presented the White House with its assessment in 2018, but it did not appear to change Trump's friendly relations with Saudi Arabia and with bin Salman in particular. "Whether there's a smoking gun, I don't think there is anybody in the room that doesn't believe he was responsible for it".

The decision to release the report, which was withheld by the Trump administration, reflects the difference in attitudes toward Saudi Arabia, and human rights issues, under Biden. Instead, he sanctioned 17 Saudi officials with financial penalties and 21 officials with visa bans - limiting USA penalties to the officials identified by the Saudi government.

Saudi courts sentenced to death five people who allegedly were involved in Khashoggi's death, but those sentences later were converted to 20 years in prison.

"The release of this report, when that time comes, will be an important step in that direction".

Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is expected to provide information on who was responsible for the October 2018 killing.

They also discussed "joint efforts to bolster" Saudi defenses, and cooperation on ending the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is backing the government against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, said State Department spokesman Ned Price.