Pompeo to seek new answers from Saudis on Khashoggi

DOHA (AA): U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday Washington will seek to get new answers from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Speaking during a press conference with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani following the second US-Qatari Strategic Dialogue in Doha, Pompeo described Khashoggi’s murder as “unacceptable”.

Pompeo said the U.S. will continue to communicate with bin Salman to ensure bringing those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder to accountability.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October. The Saudi journalist had entered the diplomatic facility seeking documents that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

His body has yet to be found amid reports it was dismembered and chemically dissolved.

Riyadh has indicted 11 people over Khashoggi’s killing and is seeking the death penalty for five suspects. But critics have suggested the individuals are merely taking the fall for bin Salman’s operation after an unexpected international outcry.

Regarding the resignation of retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni as an envoy to resolve the Gulf Crisis, Pompeo asserted that the resignation will not reflect a change in Washington’s policy.

Pompeo said the U.S. will continue to exert efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis in the weeks and few months ahead.

Pompeo also hailed Qatari support for Washington’s anti-terrorism efforts.

Pompeo said the US and Qatar work together to settle many regional issues, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since the summer of 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have cut ties with Qatar and imposed “punitive measures” that Doha calls a “blockade”.

The Saudi-led axis accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.

Asked whether the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia would affect dealing with Iran, Pompeo said the U.S. will keep doing efforts to preserve the unity of the Gulf countries in the upcoming weeks.