WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s dealing with of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday, stressing Saudi Arabia’s significance as a U.S. ally towards Iran.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media after a closed briefing for senators concerning the newest developments associated to the demise of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photograph
Pompeo repeated his assertion that there was no direct proof linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Oct. 2 homicide of Khashoggi within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, regardless of a CIA evaluation it was possible he ordered the killing.
CIA Director Gina Haspel was briefing leaders of the Home of Representatives behind closed doorways on Wednesday concerning the killing. She has already briefed some U.S. senators.
The killing of Khashoggi despatched shockwaves around the globe and has drawn outrage from lawmakers within the U.S. Congress, together with President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans. A few of them have criticized the U.S. response as weak and urged harsher motion towards Saudi Arabia.
The chairman of the U.S. Senate International Relations Committee mentioned on Tuesday he deliberate to introduce a joint decision condemning Crown Prince Mohammed for the killing.
Requested throughout a Fox Information interview concerning the CIA’s findings, made with medium to excessive confidence, Pompeo mentioned, with out offering particulars, that a number of the reporting of the CIA findings has been inaccurate.
“They’re nonetheless engaged on this. That is nonetheless a creating set of info with respect to the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi,” he mentioned. He mentioned direct proof linking the crown prince to the killing “isn’t but obtainable.”
Pompeo repeatedly refused to say whether or not he believed Crown Prince Mohammed was behind the killing.
America imposed financial sanctions on 17 Saudi officers final month for his or her function within the killing, stopping in need of motion that may have an effect on profitable U.S. arms offers with Saudi Arabia that Trump has vowed to protect.
Pompeo pointed to the sanctions and mentioned the US would proceed to carry accountable these confirmed to have been concerned within the killing of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Publish columnist.
Riyadh initially denied any information of Khashoggi’s disappearance after getting into the consulate, then provided contradictory explanations, together with that he was killed in a rogue operation.
Trump condemned the homicide however has stood by the Saudi crown prince, regardless of the CIA evaluation.
“He’s the chief of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been an excellent ally,” Trump advised Reuters on Tuesday in an Oval Workplace interview.
Pompeo was scheduled to attend a United Nations assembly to debate Iran afterward Wednesday.
“Nobody underestimates how horrible this homicide was. However bear in mind, Iran is working rampant all through the Center East,” he advised Fox. “The demise of anybody particular person is terrible. The demise of a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals in Europe or the Center East or the US issues an terrible lot.”
Nikki Haley, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, advised NBC Information earlier that the administration wanted to determine a path ahead with the Saudis.
“We have to have a severe, arduous discuss with the Saudis to allow them to know we received’t condone this, we received’t offer you a move and don’t do that once more,” she mentioned. “After which I feel that the administration has to speak about the place we go from right here.”
Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Modifying by Nick Zieminski and Bernadette Baum