President Biden spoke Thursday with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, ahead of the release of a declassified report expected to implicate Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the 2018 death of a Washington Post journalist.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi leadership, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. His body was later dismembered.
The Biden administration is expected to release an unclassified report as soon as this week that concludes the crown prince, the son of the king, approved the killing of Khashoggi.
Former President Trump had suggested the Khashoggi matter had been investigated and settled. The Saudis have labeled the death an accident and say the crown prince had nothing to do with it.
The White House did not mention Khashoggi or the report specifically in a readout of Mr. Biden’s call with the king.
The two leaders discussed “regional security, including the renewed diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to end the war in Yemen, and the U.S. commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” according to the White House.
Mr. Biden also spoke about the recent release of several Saudi-American activists “and affirmed the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law.”
“The president told King Salman he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible,” the White House said. “The two leaders affirmed the historic nature of the relationship and agreed to work together on mutual issues of concern and interest.”
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