Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman has said he does not care whether US President Joe Biden understands him, claiming his human rights were not respected when the West accused him of being responsible for the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, the long-standing strategic partnership between Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, and Washington has come under strain.
While the crown prince enjoyed close relations withformer President Donald Trump, Biden has taken a tougher stance with the Gulf Arab powerhouse and has so far chosen only to speak with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, not MbS.
One of the reasons for the strained relationship is Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, especially with respect to the Yemen war and the 2020 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In an interview with The Atlantic published Thursday, March 3, the crown prince said Biden should be focusing on America’s interest and he doesn’t care if Biden misunderstood things about him.
He said he felt his own rights had been violated by the accusations against him in the brutal murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi, who was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
‘I feel that human rights law wasn’t applied to me…Article XI of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that any person is innocent until proven guilty,’ he said.
Prince Mohammed, the de facto Saudi ruler widely known as MbS, suggested in separate but related remarks carried by the Saudi state news agency SPA that Riyadh could choose to reduce investments in the United States.
‘Simply, I do not care,’ the crown prince said when asked by The Atlantic whether Biden misunderstood things about him.
‘We don’t have the right to lecture you in America,’ he added. ‘The same goes the other way.’
U.S. intelligence implicated the crown prince in the murder of Khashoggi, but MBS staunchly denies this
Asked whether Saudi rule could transform into a constitutional monarchy, MbS said no.
‘Saudi Arabia is based on pure monarchy,’ he said.
Prince Mohammed also told The Atlantic that Riyadh’s objective was to maintain and strengthen its ‘long, historical’ relationship with America.
‘In the same way we have the possibility of boosting our interests, we have the possibility of reducing them,’ SPA quoted him as saying.