President Biden has announced an end to US support for a Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen.
US President Joe Biden has no plans to call the de facto ruler of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the White House said.
Biden said he intends to make human rights a central issue in US-Saudi Arabia relations, which he pledged in the 2020 election campaign.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday there was no planned call to the crown prince.
“Well, obviously there is a review of our policy on Saudi Arabia. There is no planned call that I know of, “she said in the daily press conference.
Psaki had previously asked a question about whether the Saudi Arabia government would impose sanctions on the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi activists at the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Biden earlier this month revealed a first step to forge a closer line with the kingdom, announcing an end to US support for offensive operations by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting the Iranian-focused Houthi movement in Yemen.
Psaki called Khashoggi’s death a “terrible crime” earlier this month and reiterated the government’s intention to outclass a US intelligence report on the murder that the CIA had approved and possibly ordered by the CIA.
The prince denied having ordered the murder.
Signs are emerging Saudi Arabia is trying to improve its human rights record. Well-known women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from a Saudi prison this week after nearly three years in prison.
Rights groups and her family say she was subjected to electric shocks, waterboarding, whipping and sexual assault while in prison – allegations Saudi Arabia denies.
Al-Hathloul, who campaigned to end a driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in 2018 and sentenced in December to nearly six years in prison on terrorist charges, which was sentenced internationally.
She was detained for 1,001 days and detained in remand and solitary confinement. She was found guilty of, among other things, agitating for change, pursuing a foreign agenda, and using the internet to disrupt public order.
Despite being released, al-Hathloul remains under strict conditions, including a five-year travel ban and three-year probation.