After Donald Trump, it’s now US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has slammed reports that claim Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi that took place last month in Istanbul, reported Reuters.
“There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi,” Pompeo told reporters after he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate that weakening US-Saudi ties over Khashoggi’s killing would be insensible. “That’s all I can say in an unclassified setting.”
A day before the briefing, The Wall Street Journal also published an op-ed on Tuesday in which Pompeo noted that degrading U.S.-Saudi relationship will be a big mistake for the country’s national security.
“The October murder of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on,” Pompeo wrote. “But degrading U.S.-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the U.S. and its allies.”
He added that the Saudi “kingdom is a powerful force for stability in the Middle East,” pointing to its contributions in fighting ISIS and other terrorists in the region and containing the threat from Iran, among other things.
Notably, President Trump has already dismissed the CIA assessment report that claimed the crown prince ordered for Khashoggi’s killing. He announced that he has no intentions of imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia for the murder of Khashoggi as he feels Prince Salman may not have any connection with the planning or execution of Mr. Khashoggi’s murder.
He went on to thank Saudi Arabia on Twitter for the current low oil prices and also compared the low prices to a big tax cut for the U.S. He implored Saudi Arabia to go lower in terms of oil prices.