Pompeo to tell Saudi Arabia to hold Khashoggi killers ‘accountable’

Pompeo to tell Saudi Arabia to hold Khashoggi killers ‘accountable’

Pompeo to tell Saudi Arabia to hold Khashoggi killers ‘accountable’

"We will continue to work to ensure that all those responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi are accountable", Pompeo said Friday on the United States channel Fox News.

In Doha, Pompeo is expected to meet with several senior government leaders, including Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.

After evidence emerged that the killing was done by a team of Saudis sent from Riyadh and closely linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the global community demanded a transparent investigation.

In November, Middle East Eye reported that Saudi Arabia's king and the crown prince were shielding themselves from the Khashoggi murder scandal using a roadmap drawn up by Pompeo.

"It is time for old rivalries to end for the sake of the greater good of the region", Pompeo said on Thursday in Cairo, where he laid out the Middle East strategy of US President Donald Trump's adminstration.

"I am struck by what is not included in Pompeo's itinerary: the fearless women activists of Saudi Arabia, who are being held in the kingdom's prisons for seeking rights and dignity", Alia al-Hathloul wrote in The New York Times Sunday.

Acknowledging that Pompeo is set to seek an update on the Khashoggi murder investigation, al-Hathloul's sister, Alia al-Hathloul, noted that, "I am struck by what is not included in Mr. Pompeo's itinerary: the fearless women activists of Saudi Arabia, who are being held in the kingdom's prisons for seeking rights and dignity".

But Prince Mohammed, whose right-hand aides were allegedly involved in the murder, was exonerated by prosecutors despite USA intelligence reportedly having evidence he was behind it.

During his visit to Qatar, Pompeo refused to comment on reports Washington had recently considered military action against Tehran.

White House asked for options to strike Iran
Washington blamed the attacks on Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units, which Washington alleges has close ties with Tehran. He penned a 2015 New York Times opinion piece prior to his current role titled "To stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran".

Qatar - also a United States ally - denies the allegations and accuses the countries of seeking regime change.

"When we have a common challenge, disputes between countries with shared objectives are never helpful".

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in the summer of 2017, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism, an allegation which Doha denies.

He added that "President Trump and I both believe the ongoing dispute in the region has gone on too long".

America has proposed a nine-country alliance that includes Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Jordan for security, economic and political cooperation.

However, Pompeo later admitted in a Q&A session with USA embassy staff in Doha that no progress was made on resolving the issue.

"(It's) not at all clear that the rift is any closer to being resolved today than it was yesterday", he said.

Attempts at mediation between Qatar and the blockading nations have stalled, as highlighted by the recent resignation of U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni - who quit because of an apparent "lack of will" on behalf of "regional leaders" for regional reconciliation. "He made this decision to move on, but America's commitment remains unchanged".

Speaking during the opening session of the second US-Qatari Strategic Dialogue in Doha, Pompeo said the US and Qatar work together to settle many regional issues, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

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