FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014, file photo, Jamal Khashoggi, general manager of a new Arabic news channel, speaks during a news conference in Manama, Bahrain. Saudi Arabia is paying influential lobbyists, lawyers and public relations experts nearly $6 million a year to engage U.S. officials and promote the Middle East nation, even after several firms cut ties with the kingdom following the disappearance of journalist Khashoggi. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

U.S. tells Saudis to hold ‘accountable’ killers of journalist

Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he told the king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia on Monday that the Trump administration expects the kingdom to hold accountable “every single person” responsible for the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside one of the country’s consulates after writing columns critical of the government.

In talks with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused by some of complicity in the murder, Pompeo said he had been clear about the administration’s expectations.

At the end of a trip to Riyadh that also focused on Mideast crises and countering threats from Iran, Pompeo said he had raised the Khashoggi case in his meetings with the king and crown prince along with other human rights issues, including the fate of women’s rights activists detained in the kingdom.

“We spoke about the accountability and the expectations that we have. The Saudis are friends and when friends have conversations you tell them what your expectations are,” the secretary said. “Our expectations have been clear from early on: Every single person who has responsibility for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi needs to be held accountable.”

He said the Saudis understood and had reiterated pledges to pursue the case wherever it leads. He would not comment on U.S. intelligence that has suggested the crown prince may have ordered the killing.

The relationship between Riyadh and Washington remains tense following the killing of Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia and wrote columns for The Washington Post, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.

Saudi Arabia has charged 11 people in the death, including several officials close to the crown prince but U.S. lawmakers have been critical of its response, demanding that America withdraw its support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen in response.

Pompeo travelled to Saudi Arabia as part of a broader Middle East tour that has already taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. He was to depart from the kingdom for Oman shortly after his meetings in Riyadh but cancelled plans to wrap up the trip in Kuwait on Tuesday, due to a death in his family.

At each stop, Pompeo has sought to reassure Arab leaders that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria does not mean Washington is abandoning the Middle East or the fight against the Islamic State group.

Pompeo said he believed he had been successful in explaining Trump’s position despite a lack of detail on exactly how and when the withdrawal will take place and differences with Turkey over the fate of U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters after American forces leave.

Trump tweeted late Sunday that the U.S. will “attack again from existing nearby base if it (IS) reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds.” Trump’s decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked U.S. allies and angered the Syrian Kurds.

READ MORE: Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said later Monday that they spoke by phone to discuss co-operation on the withdrawal of the approximately 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump backed away from the economic threat in a later tweet. He said he and Erdogan in their phone call discussed creating a 20-mile buffer zone along Turkey’s border with Syria as well as economic co-operation between U.S. and Turkey and its “great potential to substantially expand!”

Pompeo also pressed the Saudis on bringing an end to the near two-year-old dispute with its Gulf neighbour Qatar, which has badly hindered U.S. efforts to create a united Arab military alliance to counter Iran.

Matthew Lee, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

OPINION: Ten signs that Port Alice has changed

“Right now, our lack of amenities is holding back economic growth in our village”

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Port McNeill council discusses ‘bear aware’ and what you can do to stay safe

Port McNeill’s Conservation Officer Brad Adams gave a presentation about being ‘bear aware’.

Port Hardy RCMP release tips to prevent fraud and theft from vehicles

In many of the incidents reported, “the vehicles that were broken into were unlocked.”

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read