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AFP
January 14, 2019

Pompeo says will ask MBS to hold Khashoggi’s killers accountable

Top Story

AFP
January 14, 2019

DOHA: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday he will ask Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ensure the killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are held accountable for their crime.

The top US diplomat, on an extensive Middle East tour, spoke ahead of a politically sensitive visit to Saudi Arabia, which has faced intense international scrutiny over Khashoggi’s murder inside its Istanbul consulate.

"We will continue to have a conversation with the crown prince and the Saudis about ensuring the accountability is full and complete with respect to the unacceptable murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Pompeo told a news conference in Qatar.

"So, we’ll continue to talk about that and make sure we have all the facts so that they are held accountable, certainly by the Saudis but by the United States as well." Pompeo is due to travel to Saudi Arabia later on Sunday as part of an eight-day trip to Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, and finally Kuwait City.

He was speaking in Doha after meeting his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. Khashoggi was killed on October 2 in a case which stunned the world and threatened a serious rift between Riyadh and Washington.

Pompeo refused on Sunday to comment on reports Washington had recently considered military action against Tehran. He also called on Qatar and other Gulf countries to end the worst political rift in the region for years, which has seen Doha diplomatically and economically isolated by neighbouring former allies for the past 19 months.

"As for the GCC... we are all more powerful when we’re working together when we have common challenges in the region and around the world," Pompeo said, referring to the six member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. "Disputes between countries that have a shared objective are never helpful." He added that "President Trump and I both believe the ongoing dispute in the region has gone on too long".

However, Pompeo later admitted in a Q&A session with US embassy staff in Doha that no progress was made on resolving the issue. "(It’s) not at all clear that the rift is any closer to being resolved today than it was yesterday," he said. "And I regret that."

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