0808 GMT March 25, 2019
Pompeo, speaking to reporters at the end of a trip to Riyadh, said he had raised the Khashoggi case in his meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as other human rights concerns, and the fate of women’s rights activists who have been detained in the kingdom, AP reported.
“We spoke about human rights issues here in Saudi Arabia, women activists,” he said. “We spoke about the accountability and the expectations that we have. The Saudis are friends and when friends have conversations you tell them what your expectations are.”
“Our expectations have been clear from early on: every single person who has responsibility for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi needs to hold accountable,” Pompeo said. He said the Saudis understood and had reiterated pledges to pursue the case wherever it leads.
He would not comment on US intelligence suggesting the crown prince may have ordered the killing.
The relationship between Riyadh and Washington remains tense following Khashoggi’s brutal slaying and dismemberment at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.
Members of Prince Mohammed’s entourage have been implicated in the killing and US lawmakers have demanded America pull back its support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
On the detained women rights activists, Pompeo said the Saudis had committed that the “lawful judicial process would take place and they would do so quickly and that they would continue down that path.”
“They understand the concerns that some have and they are going to do their best to communicate as appropriate,” he said.
Pompeo travelled to Saudi Arabia as part of a broader Middle East tour that has already taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. He was to depart from the kingdom for Oman shortly after his meetings in Riyadh but cancelled plans to wrap up the trip in Kuwait on Tuesday, due to a death in his family.
At each stop, Pompeo has sought to reassure Arab leaders that President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria does not mean Washington is abandoning the Middle East.