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The New Arab

Biden campaign slams Trump's 'blank check' policy on Saudi Arabia

Biden has previously called Saudi Arabia a 'pariah' [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 December, 2019

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Donald Trump has come under fire for his relationship with Saudi Arabia since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

US presidential hopeful Joe Biden has condemned Donald Trump's policy on Saudi Arabia and called on the country to "reevaluate" its relationship with the kingdom.

The statement comes days after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant was accused of the fatal shooting of three people at a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida.

The man, who authorities say likely acted alone, had been on the base as part of a Navy training programme designed to foster links with foreign allies.

The incident has renewed attention on the Trump administration's relationship with Saudi Arabia, already heavy bipartisan scrutiny since the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a US resident and The Washington Post columnist, was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

The Trump administration has written Saudi Arabia a "blank check to act with impunity around the world", Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo told Reuters.

If elected president, Biden would "reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia to ensure it is fully aligned with American values and priorities", Ducklo said.

Last month, the former vice president called for Saudi Arabia to "pay the price" for Khashoggi's murder.

"I would make it very clear, we were not going to in fact sell more weapons to them," Biden said during a debate between Democratic candidates for the presidency, adding that he would "treat them like the pariah that they are".

Continuing US arms exports to Saudi Arabia amid the kingdom's leading role in the devastating war in Yemen and an ongoing crackdown on dissent led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman have also drawn criticism.

Since 2015, more than 90,000 people have been killed and millions displaced by Yemen's conflict, which the UN has termed the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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