Blinken Says the U.S. Has ‘Recalibrated’ Its Relationship With Saudi Arabia

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Blinken Says the U.S. Has ‘Recalibrated’ Its Relationship With Saudi Arabia” – below is their description.

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US relationship with Saudi Arabia is an important one and actions taken against the kingdom will not rupture “the relationship but recalibrate it.”

    This comes after a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released on Friday showed the Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    The public blaming of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amounted to an extraordinary rebuke and was likely to set the tone for the new administration’s relationship with a country President Joe Biden has criticized but which the White House also regards in some contexts as a strategic partner.

    “I think the report speaks, speaks for itself, and I think you’ve seen today a number of very important steps to recalibrate the relationship,” said Blinken Friday at the State Department.

    “First of all, the release of the report itself and the transparency that that provides. This is a report that that, in a sense, is not fresh off the printing press. It’s been there. We released it. We were determined to bring transparency to this issue and to share with the American people what we know.”

    The conclusion that the prince approved an operation to kill or capture Khashoggi, a critic of his authoritarian consolidation of power, was based on what intelligence officials know about his role in decision-making inside the kingdom as well as the involvement of one of his key advisers, Saud al-Qahtani, and members of his protective detail, according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    Officials also factored in the prince’s past support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, the report said.

    The document was released one day after a later-than-usual courtesy call from Biden to Saudi King Salman, though a White House summary of the conversation made no mention of the killing and said instead that the men had discussed the countries’ longstanding partnership.

    The kingdom’s state-run Saudi Press Agency similarly did not mention Khashoggi’s killing in its report about the call, rather focusing on regional issues such as Iran and the ongoing war in Yemen.

    “We are already seeing some results from this recalibration,” said Blinken.

    “We’re seeing results in our own efforts and joined, I hope, by Saudi Arabia to end the war in Yemen, we’re seeing the new policy approach we’ve taken to arms transfers and getting back to regular order with with Congress.”

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