US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that he would ask Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ensure that the murderers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are held “accountable.”
“We will continue to have a conversation with the crown prince and the Saudis about ensuring accountability,” Pompeo said in Doha after talks with Qatari government officials.
His comments come ahead of a planned visit to the kingdom later on Sunday as part of a Middle East tour.
Turkish officials have blamed the crown prince for the killing, which the Saudi authorities categorically deny. US senators briefed by the CIA have said they are convinced that he led the action.
In a case that shocked the world, Khashoggi, a US resident and Riyadh critic who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered and his corpse dismembered inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. He had gone to pick up paperwork needed for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancee.
After evidence emerged that the killing was done by a team of Saudis sent from Riyadh and closely linked to the Saudi crown prince, the international community demanded a transparent investigation.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have opened separate investigations into the murder but Ankara has repeatedly accused Riyadh of failure to cooperate.
The kingdom has said Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue operation” led by the then deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani, both of whom have been fired. Riyadh has detained 21 people over the murder.
The intense global backlash over the killing has tarnished the prince’s international reputation and left the oil-rich kingdom diplomatically weakened.
In a ceremony marking the 100th day since Khashoggi’s killing, Amnesty International on Thursday appealed for a United Nations-led investigation into his death.