Senate Democrat: Saudi relationship being ‘recalibrated’
A Democratic senator said Sunday that he is “optimistic” that the Biden administration will deliver justice for Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist thought to have been murdered by Saudi agents in 2018.
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) argued that President Biden has taken “bolder” steps against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. intelligence community said last week it believes is responsible for ordering Khashoggi’s murder, while adding that the U.S. is “recalibrating” its relationship with Saudi Arabia’s government as a whole.
“I am optimistic that our role in terms of the war in Yemen, the accountability here for Khashoggi’s murder and other ways in which the U.S.-Saudi relationship may change will in fact deliver the accountability that I called for,” Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.
“We are not yet done with recalibrating the relationship between the United States and the Saudi kingdom,” he added.
When asked if the crown prince should face consequences for Khashoggi’s murder, Coons responded: “I look forward to having ongoing conversations with the administration about this issue, as the U.S.-Saudi relationship is recalibrated.”
The senator’s comments come after Biden stopped short of announcing new sanctions or other punitive measures targeting Saudi Arabia’s government after the release of a declassified report on Friday linking Khashoggi’s death to the crown prince.
Numerous House and Senate Democrats reacted to the news by calling for Biden to take further steps to punish the crown prince and Saudi Arabia over the murder.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said last week that the crown prince “cannot be allowed to get away with monstrous murder.”
“This new report adds to a mounting pile of evidence that the Crown Prince is culpable for Khashoggi’s killing & cover-up,” he added. “A reset in U.S.-Saudi relations and accountability is urgently needed.”