US lawmakers: Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia "really bad idea"
Several US Senators express their concerns over US President Joe Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia, calling on him not to meet with MBS over human rights issues.
Following the announcement of US President Joe Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia next month, multiple US lawmakers expressed their concerns, CNN reported, ignoring, however, the Israeli occupation crimes against Palestinians.
Among those who made remarks on the upcoming visit was Senate Majority Whip Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who called on the US President to change his plans.
Durbin considered that "It's a tough call. Sustaining the energy services for our allies and NATO, doing something to increase the oil supply in the world, perhaps bring down gasoline prices. All these things are timely and important. But I'm sorry he has to do it with Saudis."
A "really bad idea"
On his part, Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Biden's trip as a "really bad idea", especially in regard to the case of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"What's the fundamental issue in the world right now? It's the authoritarians. ... I don't think you go say, 'Well, circumstances change. We sit down with a murderer who killed a journalist (Khashoggi) who lives in Virginia.'"
Kaine said that he thinks Biden's coming meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is "a big mistake," adding that "I'd meet with (the) foreign minister. I'd meet with the Saudi ambassador. I'd meet with the King, but I wouldn't meet with MBS."
On his part, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, another member of Senate Foreign Relations, said that he has "real worries" over the Saudi Arabia trip.
"I think I need to hear more from the administration to understand what kind of commitments they've gotten from the kingdom to change their ways," he mentioned.
Alleviate political impact of record-high US gasoline prices
Similarly, South Dakota Senate Republican Whip John Thune said he wishes that the US President "would focus on American energy and he wouldn't have to deal with the Crown Prince."
"I think it's unfortunate an American president is put in that position," Thune added.
According to CNN, "there's little doubt that Biden is making his trip in order to persuade the Saudis to pump more crude oil to help alleviate the political impact of record-high US gasoline prices."
Discussing human rights issues
White House officials said that Biden plans to discuss human rights issues with bin Salman but underscored that the US President is looking to rebuild his relationship with the kingdom.
"We are not overlooking any conduct that happened before the President took office," White House Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre claimed Tuesday in regard to Khashoggi's murder.
CNN mentioned that an organization consisting of the families of individuals killed during the September 11, 2001 attacks urged the US President earlier this month to ensure accountability for the attacks and make it a key priority of his discussions with Saudi officials.
However, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby did not confirm whether conveying the organization's message would be on Biden's agenda.
On Tuesday, the White House announced that Biden will visit the Middle East from July 13-16, starting his trip with a visit to "Israel", before he heads to Saudi Arabia on July 15-16.