White House says Biden's 'pariah' remarks of Saudi Arabia still stand
Activists have circulated a video of White House Spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre's response to a question about previous statements made by the US President on Saudi Arabia.
Following a press briefing on Wednesday, White House Spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre's responded to a question about previous statements made by US President Joe Biden against Saudi Arabia, which he described as a "pariah", saying the remarks still stand.
Jean-Pierre was asked how after US intelligence assessed that Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) was behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a visit to Saudi Arabia would be consistent with Biden's remarks last year that Saudi Arabia would "pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are."
According to Biden at the time, there was “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia."
In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that officials in West Asia and the US have said that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammad bin Zayed declined US requests to speak to the US President.
The last call Biden had with an official from these two countries was with Saudi Arabia's King Salman on February 9. Amid all of the developments that have taken place over the past months, both in West Asia and globally, the Saudis have signaled that their relationship with the US has deteriorated under the Biden administration.
Read more: US Website: Bin Salman retaliating against Biden
With reports of a potential Biden-MBS handshake in Saudi Arabia, @PressSec reiterates that Biden still stands by his words of making MBS a “pariah” and “pay a price” for Khashoggi’s murder. (Unclear how?)— Khalid Aljabri, MD د.خالد الجبري (@JabriMD) June 1, 2022
Also, KJP says the WH has no presidential visit [to KSA] to announce. pic.twitter.com/BrKvqI2meR
Jean-Pierre responded by saying the President's remarks concerning the Kingdom "still stand" and that she has no visit to announce at the present time.
The journalist asking her was adamant to know "what price Saudi Arabia has paid already for the murder of a journalist, for the President to reward them with a visit."
Jean-Pierre reiterated that there was no visit to announce or preview and that "there was no discussion to have," adding again that the President's words "still stand".
See this: US-Saudi relations, from friends to foes
The White House Spokeswoman said earlier that two senior US officials visited Saudi Arabia for talks on global energy supplies, Iran, and other regional issues. She said US officials had not requested an increase in Saudi oil exports.
Although Biden is not scheduled to visit the Kingdom, US officials are planning a visit for Biden to the Middle East in late June in order to meet with Gulf allies, which are very likely to include MBS.
In March, White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden stands by his view that Saudi Arabia should be treated like a "pariah" state. On his part, when MBS was asked in an interview with The Atlantic if Biden misunderstood him, he responded, "simply, I do not care."
According to the Wall Street Journal in April, US officials reported that the relationship between Washington and Riyadh had hit its lowest point in decades, especially after President Biden said Saudi should be treated as a "pariah" over various human rights issues, including Khashoggi's murder.
Read more: The Guardian: Khashoggi killers live in luxury villas in Riyadh