RIYADH: Saudi Arabia finally congratulated Joe Biden on Sunday over his election victory, more than 24 hours after he defeated Donald Trump, who had close personal ties with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The former U.S. vice president pledged in his campaign to reassess ties with the kingdom, demanding more accountability over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Riyadh’s Istanbul consulate and calling for an end to U.S. support for the Yemen war.
As other Arab states raced to applaud the Democrat challenger, the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman remained silent on the U.S. vote even as he sent warm words to the president of Tanzania on his re-election.
At 1932 GMT on Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s king Salman and his son, the crown prince, congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on winning the presidential election, state news agency SPA reported.
“King Salman praised the distinguished, historic and close relations between the two friendly countries and their people which everyone looks to strengthen and develop at all levels,” SPA added.
Prince Mohammed’s relationship with Trump had provided a buffer against international criticism over Riyadh’s rights record sparked by Khashoggi’s murder, Riyadh’s role in Yemen’s war and the detention of women activists.