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

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Moose tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northwest Montana

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana

Nelson receives over $400,000 in gaming grants

The annual funds are handed out to non-profit sports and arts organizations

Kootenay Patricks assemble to take on Montreal Canadiens alumni

The charity game takes place Jan. 23 in Nelson

Nelson council members display their October household plastic

The initiative was part of plastic awareness month

VIDEO: B.C. man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

Grand Forks residents protest on bridge to call for ‘fair’ compensation after 2018 floods

Demonstrators also criticized how long it has taken to be offered land deals

B.C. taxi drivers no longer exempt from wearing a seatbelt

Before, taxi drivers were allowed to forego a seatbelt when driving under 70 kilometres an hour

Car dash covered in papers not an excuse for speeding, Delta police warn

After pulling driver over for speeding, police found his speedometer blocked by a stack of papers

B.C. woman seeks return of jewelry box containing father’s cremated remains

Sicamous RCMP report handmade box was stolen from a storage locker

Vancouver police officer charged with sexual assault in apparent off-duty incident

Jagraj Roger Berar, 51, of Surrey, charged in incident alleged to have happened in Whistler

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Most Read