Washington: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday stated that the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “violates the norms of international law.”
Speaking to Fox News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Pomepo said, “The death of Jamal Khashoggi is tragic. It’s an awful thing that took place. The killing, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Turkey violates the norms of international law. That much is very, very clear.”
“There are still many unanswered questions about precisely how this came to be. We are working diligently, our team, to get the facts, the facts that the Americans can learn. We won’t rely on others; we’ll take their information, we’ll make sure and develop our fact pattern,” Pompeo added.
Khashoggi went missing on October 2, after stepping into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to collect documents that would allow him to get married to fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate for Khashoggi.
Owing to his support for Riyadh, which is a key cog to the US’ interests in the Middle East, US President Donald Trump has come under considerable pressure. While Trump condemned the murder, calling it “one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups,” he stated that the US should not criticise the Saudi regime owing to the impending multi-billion dollar arms agreement between the two counties.
Echoing similar thoughts, Pompeo said, “There are long, since FDR long, strategic relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Military, commercial ties, important relationships with the United States of America. And it’s very important for us to keep that in mind as we continue to ensure that accountability is had for all those who were involved in committing this murder.”
Pompeo’s comments come in the wake of chief Turkish prosecutor Ifran Fidan confirming in a statement that the former Washington Post scribe was strangled to death soon after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, while his body was ‘cut into pieces’.
A few weeks after the October 2 incident, Saudi had accepted the fact that the group of 15 Saudi agents were behind the murder of the former Washington Post journalist, leading to an international furore and complicating the already delicate relations between Saudi, Turkey and the US.
Turkish authorities have repeatedly accused Riyadh of causing hindrance in the ongoing investigations into the case by denying key pieces of evidence, including the whereabouts of the body. On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called upon the Gulf country to expose the people who sanctioned the murder.
In wake of the murder, Germany suspended export licenses to Saudi, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo invalidated visas of Saudi officials who are believed to be part of the plot to murder the journalist.