Biden questions Saudi version of Khashoggi murder discussion

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden took issue with Saudi Arabia on Saturday over discussions at a bilateral summit over the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a key controversy between the two nations.

Responding to reporters when he arrived at the White House from his first trip to the Middle East as president, Biden disputed the Saudi foreign minister’s account that he did not hear Biden blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the columnist’s murder. of the Washington Post, a harsh critic. from his native Saudi Arabia.

Asked if Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir was telling the truth in recounting the exchange between Biden and the crown prince, the president said “No.”

US intelligence agencies believe the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a US citizen, which the de facto Saudi ruler denies.

Jubeir said the crown prince, known as MbS, had told Biden that the kingdom had acted to prevent mistakes like the Khashoggi killing from happening again and that the United States had also made mistakes.

The minister told Fox News on Saturday that he “didn’t hear that particular line” from Biden blaming the crown prince.

When Biden was asked if he regretted trading a first blow with MbS on Friday, he replied: “Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters? I’m happy to answer a question that matters.”

(Reporting by Shivam Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

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