US urges Saudi Arabia to disband Rapid Intervention Force linked to Khashoggi murder

WION Web Team
Washington Published: Mar 02, 2021, 07:15 AM(IST)

Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The Biden administration had earlier imposed sanctions on the Rapid Intervention Force and had banned the entry of 76 Saudis under a new policy against foreign officials who harass dissidents.

The United States has urged Saudi Arabia to disband an elite unit controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that Washington sanctioned over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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The US State Department said that anti-dissident activities and operations must cease completely.

"We have urged Saudi Arabia to disband this group and then adopt institutional, systemic reforms and controls to ensure that anti-dissident activities and operations cease and cease completely," Ned Price, State Department spokesman said.

"We have made crystal clear - and will continue to do so -- that the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi 28 months ago remains unacceptable conduct," the State Department spokesman added.

The Biden administration had earlier imposed sanctions on the Rapid Intervention Force and had banned the entry of 76 Saudis under a new policy against foreign officials who harass dissidents.

The latest move by the US government comes after it released a report blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Khashoggi who was a Washington Post journalist was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018  with his body cut into pieces which were never found.

In the report it said the Rapid Intervention Force, an elite unit, "exists to defend the crown prince" and "answers only to him." Saudi Arabia, however, had dismissed the report calling it "negative, false and unacceptable".

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