Pompeo Discusses Khashoggi Murder, Yemen Conflict With Saudi Leaders

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks in Saudi Arabia Monday on a variety of Mideast crises, topped by the disputes in Syria and Yemen, dangers from Iran and the Saudi reaction to the killing of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2015.

Pompeo met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the most recent stop of his Middle East trip that has actually up until now been controlled by concerns and issues about the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Syria. The State Department stated Monday that Pompeo would cancel his organized last drop in Kuwait on Tuesday due a death in his household. He will still take a trip to Oman later on Monday.

In Riyadh, the Saudi-led battle versus Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, where the circumstance has actually been considered the world’ s worst humanitarian crisis, will be a significant program product, in addition to holding criminals responsible for Khashoggi’ s slaying.

Pompeo informed the crown prince that his Middle East journey, which has actually taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, had actually been “ great ” up until now.

“ I wish to speak to you about a number of locations we’ ve been. We believe we found out a lot along the method that will be essential moving forward, ” he stated.

The prince responded that the Saudis would “ attempt to include more positivity, as much as we can.”

Speaking with senior Saudi authorities on his arrival in Riyadh late Sunday, Pompeo worried the significance of supporting a political service to end Yemen’ s civil war and “ the requirement for ongoing local efforts to stand versus the Iranian routine’ s malign activity and to advance success, peace, and security, ” the State Department stated.

The department stated Pompeo likewise explained the value of a reliable examination into Khashoggi’ s eliminating at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October. Pompeo “ highlighted the significance of Saudi Arabia continuing its examination into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in order to establish truths, examine details, and hold those responsible liable.”

The relationship in between Riyadh and Washington stays tense following Khashoggi’ s harsh slaying and dismemberment at the consulate. Members of Prince Mohammed’ s entourage have actually been linked in the killing and U.S. legislators have actually required America draw back its assistance of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

“ We will continue to have a discussion with the crown prince and the Saudis about making sure that the responsibility is total and complete with regard to the undesirable murder of Jamal Khashoggi, ” Pompeo informed press reporters in Qatar on Sunday prior to heading to Riyadh. “ We ’ ll continue to speak about that and make certain we have all the truths so that they are held responsible definitely by the Saudis, however by the United States also, where proper.”

The continuous conflict in between Qatar and 4 of America’ s other close Arab partners will likewise include in Pompeo’ s talks as it continues to be a significant barrier in a U.S.-led effort to unify the Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan in a military alliance to counter Iran.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates started a boycott of Qatar in June 2017, declaring Qatar funds extremist groups and has too-cozy ties to Iran.

Qatar has actually long rejected financing extremists, however Doha shares an enormous overseas gas field with Tehran that offers its people the greatest per-capita earnings on the planet. It brought back diplomatic relations with Iran after the crisis appeared, marking an obstacle for Saudi Arabia, which sees the Shiite power Iran as its primary local competitor.

A comparable conflict including Qatar emerged in 2014. This time positions have actually solidified versus Qatar, whose assistance for Islamist opposition groups has actually outraged the Arab countries now boycotting it.

However, remarks in Doha by Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani provided no sense of any motion in the continuous diplomatic crisis with Doha.

Later, talking to a U.S. Embassy team member in Qatar who stated her task was relocating to the UAE due to the boycott’ s results, Pompeo was a lot more frank.

“ It ’ s on everybody ’ s mind and not clear that the rift is any closer to being solved today than it was the other day — and I are sorry for that, ” Pompeo stated.

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