US pressures Saudi Arabia for progress on Khashoggi investigation

US pressures Saudi Arabia for progress on Khashoggi murder investigation
2 min read
12 June, 2019
A US administration official, speaking anonymously, said that the US wanted Saudi Arabia to make 'tangible progress' in the investigation into Khashoggi's murder before the anniversary of the journalist's death
The first anniversary of the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi will fall in October [Getty]
The administration of President Donald Trump is putting pressure on Saudi Arabia to make "tangible progress" in holding those behind the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Reuters news agency reported.

Reuters quoted an anonymous "senior administration official" as saying that the Saudis needed to make progress before the one-year anniversary of Khashoggi's death, which falls on 2 October.

Critics have accused the Trump administration of letting the Saudi authorities off the hook regarding Khashoggi's murder.

Saudi Crown Prince and strongman Mohammed bin Salman is widely believed to have been involved in the killing with the CIA saying it had "medium to high confidence" that he ordered it.

Saudi officials have denied any involvement by the Crown Prince in Khashoggi's murder.

The Trump administration official said that the Khashoggi killing was "a very hot issue" that the Saudis "need to take seriously" but did not mention any consequences if the investigation into the journalist's death was not completed.

Khashoggi spent most of his career writing for Saudi newspapers, but was an opponent of Mohammed bin Salman's policies, writing critical articles about the prince for the Washington Post.

On 2 October 2018, he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a certificate saying that he had divorced his ex-wife and was never seen again.

"There will be increased sensitivity around the anniversary," the official said. "It would be in everyone's best interest to have some tangible progress by then."

Eleven Saudi suspects have been put on trial, but the proceedings have been slow and secretive.

US members of Congress from both the Republicans and the Democrats have increased efforts to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the Khashoggi killing, and the civilian death toll from the ongoing Saudi air campaign in Yemen.

Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy this week accused the administration of "turning a blind eye" to Khashoggi's murder.

The Trump administration says that the US should not risk its alliance with Saudi Arabia, which is a leading customer for US weapons and viewed by the US as the main counterweight in the Middle East to Iran. It has also publicly doubted the CIA's assessment regarding Prince Mohammed bin Salman's involvement.

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