Pompeo discusses Khashoggi, Yemen with Saudi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, discussed the Yemen peace talks and the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi during talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Monday.

Mr Pompeo’s visit to the Saudi capital is part of his trip to the Middle East, which began on Tuesday, in a bid to dismiss concerns about U.S commitment in the region.

Mr Pompeo said he discussed the “accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.”

Mr Khashoggi, a sharp critic of the crown prince, was killed on October 2, 2018 after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a case that has triggered global condemnation.

This month, a Saudi court started the trial of 11 defendants – all Saudi nationals – in connection with the murder.

Saudi officials have repeatedly denied reports that the Prince was linked to Khashoggi’s murder.

In December, the U.S. Senate passed two resolutions that offered up a fierce rebuke of President Donald Trump’s full-throated support for Saudi Arabia, including a resolution that blamed the prince for the murder of Mr Khashoggi.

Mr Pompeo also discussed the Yemen conflict and the need “for continued de-escalation and adherence to Sweden agreements,” especially a ceasefire and redeployment in the embattled city of Hodeida, according to the U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia.

“A comprehensive political solution is the only way to end the Yemen conflict,” Pompeo tweeted.

In December 2018, Yemen’s rivals – the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-allied rebels – reached a truce agreement on Yemen’s key port city of Hodeida at UN-brokered peace talks in Sweden.

Both sides have since accused each other of breaching the ceasefire.

Mr Pompeo also met with King Salman earlier on Monday, where they discussed Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan.

The U.S. diplomat’s previous meetings in the region have focused on rallying regional support for its anti-Iran campaign as well as backing up Trump’s plan to pull U.S. troops out of war-torn Syria.

Mr Pompeo, who already visited Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt on the trip, is also scheduled to visit Oman on Monday.

(dpa/NAN)

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