Speaking to The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, Saudi Prince and diplomat urged US legislator to not "take precipitous actions" that might undermine the 75-year long relationship between his country and the United States, stating human rights as an issue that his country has yet to put work into in order for it to improve, but also hinting at US violations of human rights over the years.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, of Saudi Arabia, to US audience today:— Ali Harb (@Harbpeace) November 18, 2020
"Your country also has issues of human rights to improve upon - witness the turmoil during your elections and the police shootings. We, ladies and gentlemen, did not invent waterboarding"https://t.co/NcUxPGKOt6
During his 15-minute speech that aired on the council's Youtube Channel last Tuesday, Prince Turki Bin Faisal Al Saud addressed the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States, saying that it's a strong and deeply rooted one, that has never been affected by the different US successive administrations."
In his message, the Saudi prince said that the president-elect is familiar with the Middle East and expressed his hope that Joe Biden will work with the US regional alliances to ensure the Middle East's stability.
Turki Al-Faisal, the chairman of King Faisal Foundation's Center for Research and Islamic Studies, also warned of a previous commitment by Biden to get back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed with Iran in 2015, saying that it will only undermine security and stability in the Middle East.
Yet, when the Saudi veteran diplomat discussed international criticism to his country, mainly focused on human rights violations, he admitted that his country has to continue to improve its record and that many reforms have been underway over the last several years. He continues to address US officials saying:
"As far as human rights are concerned, we admit that we have issues to improve, and we're working on that. It is a work in progress. But respectfully, your country also has issues of human rights to improve upon - witness the turmoil during your elections and the police shootings. We, ladies and gentlemen, did not invent waterboarding. Your issues are also a work in progress."
Moreover, the Saudi royal highlighted the protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd's death in which thousands of Americans took to the streets in late May and June 2020, calling for an end to police shootings and violence against African Americans. He also briefly mentioned the protests that followed the US elections earlier this month, to say that "the US also needs to work on its human rights record."
Over the last few years, Saudi Arabia has been under fire for several human rights violations that stormed international media, including the gruesome murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul back in October 2018, in addition to the continued imprisonment of many dissidents including members of the royal family and human rights activists, some of whom have reported torture and sexual assault.
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