Saudi Gazette report
Washington — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday there was no direct evidence connecting Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month in Istanbul.
Pompeo spoke to reporters after he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate behind closed doors that weakening US-Saudi ties over the killing would hurt national security.
“There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reiterated the important role of Saudi Arabia in the stability of the Middle East.
In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal, Pompeo said the Crown Prince has moved the country in a reformist direction.
“Abandoning or downgrading the US-Saudi alliance would also do nothing to push Riyadh in a better direction at home,” he wrote.
Pompeo said Saudi Arabia is working to “secure Iraq’s fragile democracy and keep Baghdad tethered to the West’s interests, not Tehran’s.”
The US Secretary of State said Riyadh is helping manage the flood of refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war by working with host countries and cooperating closely with Egypt.
He wrote that the Kingdom also contributed millions of dollars to the US-led effort to fight Daesh and other terrorist organizations.
Pompeo criticized those who are using “the Khashoggi murder” for ulterior motives, saying: “Is it any coincidence that the people using the Khashoggi murder as a cudgel against President Trump’s Saudi Arabia policy are the same people who supported Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Iran — a regime that has killed thousands world-wide, including hundreds of Americans, and brutalizes its own people? Where was this echo chamber, where were these avatars of human rights, when Mr. Obama gave the mullahs pallets of cash to carry out their work as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism?”
He wrote: “Modern-day Iran is, in Henry Kissinger’s term, a cause, not a nation. Its objectives are to spread the revolution from Tehran to Damascus, to destroy Israel, and to subjugate anyone who refuses to submit, starting with the Iranian people. An emboldened Iran would spread even more death and destruction in the Middle East, spark a regional nuclear-arms race, threaten trade routes, and foment terrorism around the world.”
Source : Saudi Gazette