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Saudi Leader Brokered Griner Swap After U.S. Ended Khashoggi Suit

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Russia at a signing ceremony in 2019 (Wikimedia Commons)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Russia at a signing ceremony in 2019 (Wikimedia Commons)

The White House on Thursday denied the claim by Saudi Arabia and the UAE that the two Middle East nations helped broker the deal between Russia and the United States that brought WNBA player Brittney Griner home in exchange for a Russian arms dealer known as the “merchant of death” who was convicted of attempting to murder Americans.

The exchange came two days after a U.S. federal judge rejected a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post journalist James Khashoggi, submitting to the Biden administration’s claim that the prince was legally immune in the case.

Arab News reported the Saudi leader “led mediation efforts.”

Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted at the daily briefing “there was no mediation involved,” stating Russia and the United States were the only nations at the bargaining table.

However, Saudi Arabia and the UAE said in a joint statement that the “success of the mediation efforts was a reflection of the mutual and solid friendship between their two countries and the United States of America and the Russian Federation.”

Related Story: Brittney Griner Freed from Russia in Prisoner Exchange

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