U.S.’s Pompeo: Saudis assured me of accountability for Khashoggi murder

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Saudi leaders assured him everyone responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be held accountable, as Riyadh tries to resolve its biggest political crisis in a generation.

Pompeo told reporters he had also raised a number of human rights issues with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including women’s rights activists who have been detained for months and some allegedly tortured.

Khashoggi, a longtime royal insider who had become a critic of the crown prince, was killed in October in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, prompting a global outcry including Treasury sanctions on 17 individuals and a U.S. Senate resolution blaming Prince Mohammed.

A CIA assessment has blamed the crown prince for ordering the killing, which Saudi officials deny. At least 21 Saudis have been detained in the case, with five facing the death penalty. Five officials were also fired, including a senior royal advisor.

“They both acknowledged that accountability needed to take place. They talked about the process that is occurring inside their country, both the investigative process and the judicial process that is taking place,” Pompeo said.

“They reiterated their commitment to achieve the objective, the expectations we set for them.”

The outcry over Khashoggi’s murder has strained ties with Western allies and focused attention on Saudi Arabia’s domestic crackdown on dissent and the nearly four-year-old war in Yemen.

During meetings that lasted about 80 minutes total, Pompeo said he had spoken with Saudi leaders about women’s rights activists detained last summer and accused of treason.

“Their commitment was that the lawful judicial process would take place and they would do so quickly, and that they would continue down that path,” he told reporters.

On Yemen, Pompeo and Prince Mohammed agreed on the need for continued de-escalation and adherence to agreements made last month at talks in Sweden to end the civil war between the Saudi-backed government and the Iranian-aligned Houthis.

“We talked about the fact that work done in Sweden on Yemen was good but we need both sides to honour those commitments. To date, the Iranian-backed Houthis have chosen not to do that,” he said.

Pompeo, whose earlier stops included Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Doha, will cut short the rest of his Middle East trip to attend a family funeral, a State Department spokesman said. He will return home after meetings in Oman instead of travelling on to Kuwait.

RIYADH (Reuters)

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4 thoughts on “U.S.’s Pompeo: Saudis assured me of accountability for Khashoggi murder

  1. Saudi Arabia is not our country and they don’t share our values. The world is a very big place with a whole lot of sovereign nations, they’re not all going to think like us! To insist that they do will only hinder us in any kind of negotiations. The Prince won’t negotiate with us on other matters, such as Yemen, ISIS, Lebanon and Iran if we insist on trying to change the laws of his country. I DON’T blame him!

    Although Khashoggi lived in Washington, D.C., he was born and raised in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an Islamic Absolute Monarchy. He knew what his country’s laws were and he chose, not only to criticize The Kingdom abroad openly, but to associate himself with, and embrace the ideology of an organization that his country had labeled a terrorist group! That was HIS choice and he knew the consequences. The Muslim Brotherhood IS a terrorist group! The Saudis executed an enemy of the Kingdom, a traitor, and a threat to their national security. It’s NOT our place to argue otherwise. The Saudis are NOT going to change their core beliefs, change their value system or adjust their laws to suit us—neither is any other country! Why should they? Meddling in the internal affairs of other countries will only guarantee more war, less co-operation, anger and resentment on the part of other countries. It will also severely limit our ability to negotiate any kind of an agreement with any other countries!

    American foreign policy seems to demand that we “claim moral authority” over others and put a whole lot of conditions on talks—or worse, not engage AT ALL simply because the leadership of another country doesn’t “share our values”! This is why wars last decades, we just make dangerous enemies MORE dangerous and foment resent. Our foreign policy is hypocritical and seems to be designed for war, not peace. The leaders of other countries and their people feel insulted and only resent us for it—and rightly so! This has to change.

  2. Khashoggi is not our business. Meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and attaching a lot of strings to talks, is why wars last decades, nothing really gets resolved and the leadership of other countries and their people feel insulted and resent us for it—and rightly so.

  3. Khashoggi was born and raised in an Islamic Absolute Monarchy. He knew that his country considered the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. Yet, he choose to not only rale against The Kingdom to the Washington Post, but associate with, and embrace the ideology of a terrorist organization. That’s on him. This is not our business. We need Saudi Arabia’s help in leading the Arab Coalition against ISIS and in Yemen against the Houthis. The Coalition hopefully will act as a buffer to Iran. That’s WAY more important! The Saudis executed a traitor and a terrorist. The considered Khashoggi a threat to their national security. It’s not our place to argue differently. This constant meddling in the internal affairs of other countries is arrogant, hypocritical, demeaning, tactless, and just plain rude. Bullies are not respected. Americans would not tolerate other world leaders treating us in that manner.

    Saudi Arabia is not America. So why would Americans believe they should act according to American values? This arrogant, condescending, disrespectful, and hypocritical attitude has to be tossed onto the burning trash heap of insulting and counterproductive policies. It disrespects the leadership of other countries and causes anger and resent in their population. It’s also why wars go on for decades and nothing really ever gets resolved. American foreign policy wasn’t designed for peace, it was designed for war. Any Imperialst tyrant can make war. Sometimes war IS necessary. However, it takes “Exceptionalism” to perfect the fine art of making peace—and it IS an art! Being an arrogant, condescending, rude, warmongering, imperialist bully does NOT represent “American Exceptionalism”! There’s nothing even remotely resembling any kind of “Exceptionalism” there. In fact, this attitude is embarrassing and it’s what our political leaders are famous for everywhere. “Rank & file” Americans sometimes shared the “arrogant” label. However, I’ve been blessed to have known several people from other countries throughout the years. Almost unanimously the harshest criticism was reserved for our government! TIP: If our political leaders or any of us want to know American’s standing on the “world stage”, and what people in other countries think of Americans, don’t ask the U.N. Or the our Imperialist “allies”. Ask “rank & file” folks that you meet that are from other countries! They’ll be happy to let you know and will be almost brutally honest. Sometimes what they tell you may be a little hard to hear. However, no pain, no growth.

    I believe my political leaders have go back to the drawing board—with an eye toward making peace. Refusal to even engage with the leadership of another country because they don’t “share our values” is another confusing policy. This is why “Rocket Man” was able to build a nuclear arsenal practically under our noses! A policy of “non-engagement” will only ensure that nothing is resolved and a dangerous threat will become more dangerous. You don’t need a degree in International Relations to figure that out!

    MBS is not going to compromise his beliefs or change the laws of his country to suit the United States—neither is any other world leader. They shouldn’t have to.

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