After Saudi Arabia: White House Said No Talk of Human Rights (Transcript)

White House briefing post-Saudi trip, as quoted in San Francisco Chronicle blog:

Key part bolded/underlined.

From the White House briefing for press with senior administration officials on the President’s meeting with King Abdullah, March 28:

Q I asked you the question on Air Force One on the way here about the humanitarian issue, and I’m wondering to what extent that came up? What did the President tell the King about concerns about the — I said humanitarian — human rights issues, I should say, in Saudi Arabia?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the beginning of your question I will pick up on — you mentioned the humanitarian — you started with the humanitarian –

Q I meant to say human rights abuses that many human rights organizations are complaining about, bipartisan members of Congress are complaining about in this country that we have such great relations with.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, like I said, this was an opportunity to focus primarily on the importance of the strategic partnership and regional issues. There were a whole lot of issues on our bilateral agenda that weren’t the focus of this meeting. I do want to take the opportunity to say — because you started by talking about humanitarian –

Q I apologize –


Q Did human rights abuse issues come up at all in the President’s talk?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The focus of the meeting was strategic and regional topics.

Q So it did not come up?

Q We need a yes or a no.

Q Yes, really.

Q Did it come up?


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