US ignores Khashoggi murder to 'reset' relations with Saudi Arabia

Commemoration ceremony held in front of the US Congress on the anniversary of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October 2021 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

In a dramatic change, Washington has decided to ignore the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to reset relations with Saudi Arabia, CNN revealed on Friday.

Reporting senior US officials, Washington conveyed to Saudi Arabia that the US is prepared to move forward with a "reset" of relations, effectively moving on from Khashoggi's murder to repair mutual ties.

The CNN report disclosed that the reset of relations would be a dramatic change for President Joe Biden, who vowed during his way to office to deal with Saudi Arabia as a "pariah" over Khashoggi's murder.

Biden ignored an intelligence report released last year that directly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of orchestrating Khashoggi's killing.

Biden, according to CNN, is under immense pressure to crack down on Russia and lower domestic gas prices amid inflation that is rising at the fastest pace since 1981.

READ: Squeezed by high oil price, US seeks to return to business as usual with Saudi Arabia

Therefore, the officials said, he has set aside his moral outrage to pursue warmer relations with the Saudi kingdom amid the dramatic global upheaval spurred by the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine.

"Both sides have decided that for the sake of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East, we need to move past it," CNN reported one senior US official saying.

Officials said that Saudi Arabia considers the Khashoggi case closed and has made that clear to the US.

That doesn't mean forgiving and forgetting, the sources noted, adding that Biden plans to raise Khashoggi's murder directly with Mohammed Bin Salman when they meet as soon as next month.

Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz accused Biden of losing his moral compass. "President Biden's decision to meet MBS is horribly upsetting to me and supporters of freedom and justice everywhere," Cengiz expressed in a statement to CNN.