Saudi Crown Prince snubs meeting with US defence chief
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Austin travelled to the Gulf to thank US allies for their support during the massive airlift set up after the fall of the Afghan government and the Taliban capture of Kabul on August 15.
The trip "didn't happen for some scheduling issues that we understood were on the Saudi side," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Nevertheless Austin is "absolutely" willing to meet the crown prince.
"He is the defence minister for Saudi Arabia and we have a strong defence partnership with Saudi Arabia ... We fully expect that we'll get a chance to get this rescheduled. It was postponed, it wasn't cancelled forever," Kirby said.
When running for president Joe Biden vowed to make the Saudi leaders "pay" for their role in the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Once president Biden declassified an intelligence report that found that the crown prince -- also known as MBS -- ordered the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post who was lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.