US steps up pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi killing

US steps up pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi killing

WASHINGTON

This file photo shows U. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Dec. 12 said investigations into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were still ongoing but that the United States would hold those found responsible accountable for his death, while Nikki Haley, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, pointed at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo's comments to Fox News echoed U.S. President Donald Trump's stance on the killing even as the CIA has assessed with medium to high confidence that Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi's death.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, provoking an political crisis in Saudi Arabia and tearing relations with the United States and other Western allies.

Pompeo called Khashoggi's murder "a tragic incident" and "not something that America approves of," and pointed to sanctions that the United States has imposed on 17 Saudis that is has said were responsible.

Khashoggi's last words were 'I can't breathe': Report

Pompeo and Trump have called Saudi an important partner in the fight against Iran, and Pompeo is scheduled to attend a United Nations meeting to discuss Iran later on Dec. 12.

Meanwhile, Haley put the blame on Prince Mohammed in her first interview since she announced she would be leaving her post by year's end, calling on the administration to figure out a path forward.

Haley: 'It was Saudi government, and MBS is head of Saudi government'

"We need to have a serious, hard talk with the Saudis to let them know we won't condone this, we won't give you a pass and don't do this again. And then I think that the administration has to talk about where we go from here," she told NBC News in a separate interview that aired on Dec. 12.

"It was the Saudi government, and MBS is the head of the Saudi government," she said, referring to Prince Mohammed by his initials. "So they are all responsible, and they don't get a pass, not an individual, not the government -- they don't get a pass."

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