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Anger as families of US detainees in Middle East left off Blinken call

‘Infuriating’ exclusions made just weeks before Joe Biden’s Saudi visit and expected rapprochement with the crown prince

Family members of several US nationals who are being held in Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not invited to attend a recent call with Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, in a move that was called “infuriating and discriminatory” by one critic.

The apparent decision to exclude the families from a 22 June call between Blinken and relatives of US nationals who are hostages or otherwise wrongfully detained in Russia, Venezuela, Rwanda and other countries, was made just weeks before Joe Biden’s controversial trip to the Middle East and an expected rapprochement between the US president and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince.

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