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.