Senator Markey spotlights four preconditions for a visit, including accountability for murder of Jamal Khashoggi, tangible improvement in Kingdom’s human rights record, protection of civilians in Yemen, and ceasing its reported illicit ballistic missile cooperation with China
Washington (June 14, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today following the White House’s announcement that President Biden will travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in July.
“President Biden should not allow Mohammed bin Salman to get away with murder by giving him an audience without conditions during his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince has thus far evaded accountability for orchestrating the gruesome murder of renowned journalist and U.S. permanent resident, Jamal Khashoggi,” said Senator Markey. “President Biden should condition any face-to-face visit with bin Salman on no less than his admission of wrongdoing for the murder of Khashoggi, immediate improvements in its human rights protections, including for women and girls, release of political prisoners, accountability for its violations of the laws of armed conflict in the seven-year war in Yemen, and an agreement to cease its reported illicit ballistic and nuclear missile cooperation with China.”
“On the domestic front, the long-term antidote to high gas prices as a result of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine can’t be to turn to another authoritarian government, Saudi Arabia, to fuel the gas tanks of the world. The cure to America’s addiction to foreign oil is to invest in a clean energy revolution. Twelve million electric vehicles would entirely replace the oil we import from Saudi Arabia, saving any future President from having to weigh our commitment to human rights with our continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels from the OPEC cartel.”
Senator Markey co-led an amendment with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that would terminate U.S. support for the Saudi-led military coalition’s operations in Yemen. In April 2021, Markey reintroduced his Stopping Activities Underpinning Development in Weapons of Mass Destruction (SAUDI WMD) Act, which would impose sanctions on entities that have engaged in trade with Saudi Arabia related to ballistic missiles, and terminate U.S. arms exports to the Kingdom if it were to construct a uranium enrichment or reprocessing facility or if it fails to adopt the Additional Protocol to its IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. Press reports in September 2019 revealed that Saudi Arabia may have cooperated with China to build a ballistic missile production facility inside Saudi Arabia. This alleged missile cooperation was followed by press reports that China is also aiding Saudi Arabia in mastering the early stages of the nuclear-fuel cycle, outside international safeguards.