US President Joe Biden has emphasized the importance of human rights in a telephone conversation with Saudi King Salman, the White House reported on Thursday.
Biden has also said he wants to make relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia stronger and more transparent.
The conversation between Biden and King Salman had been anticipated for several days. A US intelligence report on the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi is expected to be published at any time.
That report is sensitive to Saudi Arabia because Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman allegedly ordered the murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Although Biden already indicated that he had read the report on Wednesday, the White House statement does not suggest that he has brought up Khashoggi to King Salman. Biden did, however, emphasize the importance of the rule of law.
The two heads of state also discussed the conflict in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Biden emphasized that the US is behind Saudi Arabia’s right to self-defence.