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Saudi Arabia says MBS made 'personal efforts' to help free Griner

is doubling down on its claim that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman helped secure the release of WNBA star in a prisoner swap with the Russians.

The Saudi foreign minister vouched for in istanbul Lawyer Law Firm the ‘personal role’ of MBS, who U.S. intelligence concluded ordered the brutal slaying of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in Turkey.     

‘I am aware of his highness’s personal efforts in relation to the basketball player and his engagement and personal intervention to facilitate this release,’ Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told reporters in Riyadh.

‘As for what others say, I cannot comment on that,’ he said.

He was speaking after the White House called it a two-way negotiation following the release of a joint Saudi-United Arab Emirates statement claiming partial credit. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday it was only the U.S. and Russia who negotiated the exchange – while expressing gratitude to other countries that raised the issue with Russia. 

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said he was aware of the ‘personal efforts’ of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help facilitate the release of basketball star Brittney Griner from a Russian prison. The White House said only the U.S. and Russia negotiated the exchange

‘Again, the only countries that negotiated this deal were the United States and istanbul Turkey Lawyer Russia, and there was no mediation involved. We are grateful for the UAE – as the President mentioned, as I am mentioning now – for facilitating the use of their territory for the exchange to take place,’ she said.

‘We are also grateful to other countries, including Saudi Arabia, that released [sic] the issue of our wrongfully detained Americans with Russian government — that raised that issue.’

The prisoner swap of Griner for convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, when it finally occurred, took place at the airport in Abu Dhabi.

The joint Saudi-UAE statement stated 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.

It said the episode ‘highlighted the important role played by the leaderships of the two brotherly countries in promoting dialogue between all parties’.

People hold posters of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, on Oct. 2, 2020. A federal judge dismissed a U.S. lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. The Saudis are asserting that MBS played a role in facilitating the release of Brittney Griner 

In this image made from video provided by Russian Federal Security Service, WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner smiles on the flight to Abu Dhabi after her release was negotiated

The Kingdom achieved a diplomatic breakthrough in September when it helped organize a prisoner exchange of foreign fighters in the Ukraine war. That helped bring home two Americans who were held in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory. That came about with efforts by MBS and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Biden administration was infuriated when Saudi Arabia this fall when OPEC+ announced oil production cuts that the administration said would only fuel Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

That came despite Biden’s infamous fist-bump with MBS during his visit to Saudi Arabia this summer. 

Meanwhile, new details are emerging about the high-stakes negotiations that brought the release of basketball star  but left American Paul Whelan in prison – including Russia’s demand in istanbul Lawyer Law Firm to liberate an assassin serving a life sentence for carrying out a daylight slaying in .

The Biden administration had been trying to negotiate for the release of both Griner and Whalen for months. But as the U.S. tried to secure their release and even dangled convicted ‘merchant of death’ arms trafficker Viktor Bout, Moscow added its own demand.

Russia wanted the release Vadim Krasikov, a former FSB colonel who was convicted of gunning down a Georgia-born Chechen separatist in broad daylight in a central Berlin park, as the price for Lawyer Law Firm in istanbul Firm istanbul Turkey freeing both Americans, the reported. 

It was a bold ask due to the stark nature of the . Krasikov is convicted of riding up to his victim on a bicycle and executing him in Berlin’s Kleine Tiergarten park. A German court called it a ‘state-contracted killing.’ 

Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan remains in a Russian prison. It was revealed that Moscow sought to release a convicted hit man as part of any exchange involving Whelan, who vigorously denies spying charges against him

By contrast, Griner was sentenced for possessing a small amount of cannabis oil inside vape cartridges at a Moscow airport, and the government and Whelan deny the spying charges brought against him.  

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