Pompeo says sanctions due for Khashoggi killers

AFP, WASHINGTON

Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 6

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it might take “a handful more weeks” before Washington has enough evidence to impose sanctions on individuals over the killinga of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The alleged murder has placed strain on the decades-old alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia, and tarnished the image of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

“We’re continuing to understand the fact pattern,” Pompeo said on Thursday in an interview with Missouri-based KMOX news radio.

“We are reviewing putting sanctions on the individuals that we have been able to identify to date that have — that were engaged in that murder,” he said.

“It’ll take us probably a handful more weeks before we have enough evidence to actually put those sanctions in place, but I think we’ll be able to get there,” he said, adding that US President Donald Trump had vowed accountability for all involved in the “heinous crime.”

The top US diplomat has previously said the killing “violates the norms of international law.”

However, he added that “not only do we have important commercial relationships, but important strategic relationships, national security relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we intend to make sure that those relationships remain intact.”

Speaking at a journalism awards ceremony on Thursday, Fred Ryan, publisher and chief executive officer of the Washington Post, which Khashoggi wrote for, urged the Trump administration to take a tougher line.

“When officials of our government are asked about consequences for Jamal’s murder, they often talk about ‘balancing our interests in the area,’” Ryan said. “The Khashoggi incident is viewed in some respects as a complication in a far more important strategic relationship, but Jamal’s death is more than a complication: It is vicious, state-sponsored murder of an innocent journalist.”