Pompeo reiterates US support for Saudi Arabia in CNN interview at G20 Summit

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the United States’ support for Saudi Arabia on Saturday in an exclusive interview with CNN on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina. (Screenshot: CNN)
Updated 01 December 2018

Pompeo reiterates US support for Saudi Arabia in CNN interview at G20 Summit

  • Speaking to the network’s Wolf Blitzer, Pompeo said the Kingdom was “an enormous support” to the US
  • During the interview, he also said that the US and Saudi Arabia were working closely against Iran

BUENOS AIRES: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the United States’ support for Saudi Arabia on Saturday in an exclusive interview with CNN on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina.
Speaking to the network’s Wolf Blitzer, Pompeo said the Kingdom was “an enormous support” to the US.
He said: “They are a relationship that has mattered for 70 years across Republican and Democrat administrations alike, and remain an important relationship. We’re aiming to keep that relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
When asked about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Pompeo cited a lack of direct evidence linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder on Oct. 2 in Istanbul.

“I have read every piece of intelligence that’s in the possession of the United States government,” Pompeo told Blitzer.
“And when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there’s no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That is a accurate statement, it is an important statement, and it is a statement that we are making publicly today.”
Saudi Arabia’s prosecution has charged 11 people with involvement in the journalist’s death, while Donald Trump’s administration imposed penalties on 17 individuals last month over their alleged roles in the killing of Khashoggi.
During the interview, he also said that the US and Saudi Arabia were working closely in Afghanistan as well as against Iran.
Pompeo’s statement of US support for the Kingdom comes after he wrote on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia remained a “powerful force for stability in the Middle East” and warned against any attempts to harm US relations with Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia, like the US – and unlike these critics – recognizes the immense threat the Islamic Republic of Iran poses to the world,” he wrote in a blog post.


South Korea mulls sending own ships to Strait of Hormuz

Updated 19 January 2020

South Korea mulls sending own ships to Strait of Hormuz

  • Seoul wants to avoid feud with Tehran over international maritime alliance

SEOUL: South Korea is considering sending its own ships to the Strait of Hormuz to safeguard its vessels rather than joining an international maritime security alliance, a presidential aide has said.

Around 70 percent of its oil imports pass through the waterway, making it crucial for the country’s ships to be protected from piracy and other threats.

But, amid tension in the Middle East following the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani from a US airstrike and in a bid to avoid a feud with key oil producer Iran, the South might send its own naval unit to the strait.

“Internally, there has been considerable progress (about the Hormuz dispatch),” Noh Young-min, presidential chief of staff, told a local radio program following a National Security Council meeting. “We should make efforts to protect the lives and properties of our people and companies in the region, as well as safeguard freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.”

Talks with Iranian authorities were also underway to defuse diplomatic problems, he added.

“We’re going to explain the issues (to Iran) in advance,” Noh said, responding to a question about a possible rift between Seoul and Tehran should a ship be sent to the strait. “We hope bilateral relations will not be affected.”

The anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit is operating in the Gulf of Aden and is likely to extend its mission to the Strait of Hormuz once a decision is made.

South Korea has not indicated it will join the US-led “Operation Sentinel” coalition guarding the strait, despite insistence from President Donald Trump’s administration that it shoulder some of the costs.

In a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-hwa on Tuesday in Palo Alto near San Francisco, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for collective maritime security efforts.

“Overall, (Pompeo) emphasized the importance of collective efforts by the international community,” a top South Korean diplomat told reporters, asking not to be named.

The diplomat said Pompeo pointed to the repercussions for the global economy from instability in the Strait of Hormuz, including a hike in oil prices, and stressed the need for all countries to contribute to bringing stability to the region.

Operation Sentinel’s members include Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK and Albania, with leadership and headquarters coordination provided by US Naval Forces Central Command.