Biden news latest: President presses Saudi prince on Khashoggi murder and laughs off fist bump criticism

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Biden says US would use force as ‘last resort’ to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons

Joe Biden is on the defensive as his Middle East trip continues in Saudi Arabia. This portion of the trip is intended to reset the US-Saudi relationship

The president laughed off criticism that he shouldn’t have fist-bumped the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who is believed to have ordered the gruesome 2018 murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Biden told reporters on Friday he pressed MBS about the “outrageous” murder during a wide-ranging meeting between US and Saudi top officials.

“I made my view crystal clear … for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and with who I am,” he said.

Rep Ilhan Omar says the trip to the kingdom “sends the wrong message to everyone who cares about human rights”.

Ahead of the visit, Israel and Saudi Arabia took an important step towards normalising relations with an agreement on flights and Red Sea islands.

Before flying to Jeddah, the president reaffirmed US support for “two states for two peoples” while in the West Bank. However, he acknowledged that the “ground is not ripe” to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks.

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Khashoggi fiancee criticizes Biden visit

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, described Joe Biden’s decision to visit Saudi Arabia as “heartbreaking,” accusing the U.S. president of backing down from his pledge of prioritizing human rights.

In an interview with The Associated Press in Istanbul a day before Biden travels to Saudi Arabia Friday to meet with the crown prince, Cengiz said Biden should press Saudi Arabia — a country that she described as a “terrible ally” — to embrace a human rights agenda. She also wants Biden to seek more answers from Saudi authorities over what happened to Khashoggi’s remains.

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Biden says he’ll take action on climate change if Senate bill fails

President Joe Biden said that he would take executive action on climate change if Democrats’ proposed spending bill doesn’t include clean energy provisions, but he did not mention Senator Joe Manchin, who has been vocal about his opposition to a larger bill including climate provisions and tax increases.

The president is currently traveling in the Middle East while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer negotiates with Mr Manchin.

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Biden’s weekend schedule

All times Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

11amThe president participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi of Iraq

11.40amThe president participates in a bilateral meeting with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt

12.15pmThe president participates in a bilateral meeting with Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates

12.45pmThe president attends a GCC +3 Leaders Welcome Reception

12.55pmThe president participates in a family photo with GCC +3 leaders

1.15pmThe president attends the GCC +3 Summit Meeting

3pmThe president participates in a working lunch

4.45pmThe president departs Jeddah, Saudi Arabia en route Mildenhall, United Kingdom, for a refuelling stop before proceeding on to Washington, DC, with expected arrival time of 12.40am ET on Sunday.

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Biden hints at news about oil prices during speech from Saudi Arabia

Joe Biden is hinting that a major announcement could come from the Saudis in regards to the oil supply in the coming weeks.

The president said on Friday he had a “good discussion” with the Saudis, who “share that urgency” to address oil supply and gas price issues that have challenged the US and beyond.

“Based on our discussion today, I expect we’ll see further steps in coming weeks,” he said during remarks from Jeddah.

John Bowden has a preview of what that might look like.

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More on the moment reporter asked MBS to apologise to Khashoggi family

Peter Alexander, NBC News’ chief White House correspondent, was the reporter who shouted the questions to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as to whether he would apologise to the family of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

According to Mr Alexander and other reporters in the room, the crown prince kept his eyes down and a smirk crossed his face.

THe White House press pool was given access to an extended portion of the meeting between President Joe Biden and MBS and their advisers.

Microphones at the meeting table were not turned on and the press was kept at a distance making it difficult to hear what the two men said.

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In pictures: Biden meets with Saudi leaders at Al Salam Royal Palace

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

(EPA)

President Joe Biden participates in a bilateral meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

(REUTERS)

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud greets President Joe Biden

(EPA)

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Joe Biden at Al Salman Royal Palace in Jeddah

(VIA REUTERS)

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Hanan Elatr Khashoggi thanks Biden for raising her late husband’s murder with MBS

Statement from Mrs. Hanan Elatr Khashoggi regarding the meeting of President Biden with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman:



I would like to thank President Biden for raising my husband, Jamal Khashoggi’s murder with the Crown Prince. He raised it first and foremost and for that I am grateful. I also would like to thank President Biden for fulfilling Jamal’s true legacy, which is to highlight the issue of human rights and political prisoners. This meeting was the beginning of accountability for my husband’s murder. Through the American justice system I along with my legal team intend to hold all parties accountable for the murder of my husband.

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Biden remains committed to two-state solution

President Joe Biden has said he remains committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even if “the ground is not ripe” to restart negotiations between the two parties.

Speaking in Bethlehem alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday, Mr Biden said “two states” — one Israeli, one Palestinian — established along Israel’s 1967 borders with “mutually agreed-to [land] swaps” remains the “best way to achieve equal measures of security, prosperity, freedom and democracy for the Palestinians as well as Israelis”.

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Watch: Biden on MBS and Khashoggi murder

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Earlier: Biden told he ‘cannot buy solution’ to Palestine occupation

Joe Biden has been accused of attempting to “buy a solution” to Israel’s half-century-long occupation of Palestine as it was revealed that he would be pledgingmore than $300 million (£250m) in aid.

On Friday, the US president met his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem – in the Israeli-controlled West Bank – where people have gathered to protest his arrival.

Lamiat Sabin reports for The Independent.

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