The Saudi crown prince once vilified by President Joe Biden has been elevated from a fist-bump to a hearty handshake.

Biden warmly greeted Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, after they appeared together along with several other leaders at the Group of 20 summit Saturday in New Delhi.

The leaders had gathered to announce an ambitious plan to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe.

Biden smiled and shook hands with the crown prince, who is often referred to by his initials MBS, as the announcement wrapped up.

This year’s G20 host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, quickly draped his own hand over their hands.

The cordial greeting was a sharp contrast to the last time Biden and the crown prince met, just over a year ago, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

During that encounter, Biden awkwardly greeted the crown prince with a fist bump, a moment roundly criticized by human rights activists, who were already upset at Biden’s decision to meet with the Saudi leader.


Bin Salman has been harshly criticized for his human rights violations.

U.S. intelligence officials determined that the prince approved the 2018 murder of the U.S.-based writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was a tough critic of the kingdom’s ruling family,

Fred Ryan, who was publisher of The Washington Post at the time of last year’s Biden-Prince Mohammed meeting, said the fist bump “projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking.”

Khashoggi was a contributor to the newspaper.

Biden refused to speak to Prince Mohammed at the start of his administration.

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