WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned on Wednesday there was no direct proof connecting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi final month in Istanbul.
Pompeo spoke to reporters after he and Protection Secretary Jim Mattis informed the Senate behind closed doorways that weakening U.S.-Saudi ties over the killing would harm nationwide safety.
“There is no such thing as a direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to homicide Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo mentioned.
After repeated calls from members of Congress for a robust U.S. response, Pompeo and Mattis briefed the Senate about Saudi Arabia and the Oct. 2 homicide of Khashoggi on the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and on the civil conflict in Yemen.
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“The October homicide of Saudi nationwide Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on. However degrading U.S.-Saudi ties can be a grave mistake for the nationwide safety of the U.S. and its allies,” Pompeo wrote in a weblog publish launched shortly earlier than the briefing.
Trump has dismissed a CIA evaluation that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
Trump final week vowed to stay a “steadfast associate” of Saudi Arabia and mentioned it was not clear whether or not the prince knew in regards to the plan to kill Khashoggi.
These feedback additional angered members of the U.S. Congress, together with a few of Trump’s fellow Republicans, who’ve demanded an investigation of potential involvement by the crown prince.
Republican Senator Bob Corker mentioned after the briefing it was obvious to everybody within the room that the crown prince was answerable for Khashoggi’s dying.
“We’ve got an issue right here. We perceive that Saudi Arabia is an ally, of types, and a semi necessary nation,” mentioned Corker, chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee. “We even have a crown prince that’s uncontrolled.”
WATCH: Paul Ryan mentioned on Wednesday that he has requested the Trump administration to transient Congress in regards to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi within the subsequent week or two.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez mentioned Washington was mainly telling an ally “you may kill with impunity.”
“It’s outrageous that we’re keen to show our eye away from such a homicide as a result of we’ve got ‘pursuits,’” he mentioned.
URGENT HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY
Gulf Arab states have been battling in Yemen since 2015 to revive a authorities pushed out by the Houthis, Shi’ite Muslim fighters that Yemen’s neighbors view as brokers of Iran. The conflict has killed greater than 10,000 folks and created the world’s most pressing humanitarian emergency.
Pompeo mentioned america would offer an extra $131 million for meals aide in Yemen.
WATCH: ‘No smoking gun’: Mattis says no hyperlink between Khashoggi killing, Saudi crown prince
In his remarks, which have been launched because the assembly with lawmakers started, Mattis mentioned pulling again U.S. army help in Yemen and stopping weapons gross sales to necessary companions can be misguided.
“Our safety pursuits can’t be dismissed, whilst we search accountability for what President (Donald) Trump described because the “unacceptable and horrible crime” of Jamal Khashoggi’s homicide, against the law which “our nation doesn’t condone,” Mattis mentioned in his ready remarks.
Pompeo made the case that the Saudis are too necessary an ally to lose, citing the nation’s assist to include Iran within the area, safe democracy in Iraq and battle the Islamic State and different militant teams.
WATCH: Help companies launched a three-day polio marketing campaign in Yemen to inoculate as much as 5 million kids.
“The dominion is a robust pressure for stability within the Center East,” he wrote. “Saudi Arabia, just like the U.S. – and in contrast to these critics – acknowledges the immense menace the Islamic Republic of Iran poses to the world.”
In his ready remarks, additionally launched because the briefing befell, Pompeo mentioned stopping refueling and different help for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen “would do immense harm” to the pursuits of america and its allies and companions within the Center East.
The battle is seen as a proxy conflict between Saudia Arabia and Iran.
“The primary mission is to help the Saudis and the Emiratis of their battle towards Iranian-backed Houthi fighters. This battle isn’t optionally available for Saudi Arabia, and abandoning it places American pursuits in danger too,” Pompeo mentioned.
The Senate is because of maintain a procedural vote in a while Wednesday on a measure that will finish U.S. help for the battle in Yemen.
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— Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Patricia Zengerle; Modifying by Chizu Nomiyama and Invoice Berkrot.