Saudi Arabia rebukes US Senate resolution condemning Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rebuked a resolution passed by the United States Senate condemning Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects the position expressed recently by the United States Senate, which was based upon unsubstantiated claims and allegations, and contained blatant interferences in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, undermining the Kingdom’s regional and international role,” the Saudi ministry said in the statement, posted on Twitter Sunday evening.

“The Kingdom categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership,” the statement said.

The resolution passed by the US Senate last week states it “believes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi” and “calls for the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure appropriate accountability for all those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.”

Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, was murdered and dismembered in a Saudi consulate in Turkey in October. Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi government.

The CIA concluded that the Saudi crown prince personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder, despite the Saudi government’s denials that the leader was involved, according to a senior US official and a source familiar with the matter.

President Donald Trump, however, has steered clear of blaming the Saudi leader.

Trump issued a statement in November backing Saudi Arabia that was heavily criticized by lawmakers, including top Senate Republicans.

Trump wrote in the statement, “it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” Trump wrote. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also have downplayed the crown prince’s ties to the murder, with Pompeo saying there was no “direct evidence” linking him to Khashoggi’s death.

In its statement on Twitter, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote: “The Kingdom has previously asserted that the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi is a deplorable crime that does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy nor its institutions.”

“The Kingdom is keen on preserving its relations with the United States of America, and will continue to work toward improving these ties in all areas,” the statement concluded.

The Senate last week also approved a separate resolution that would require the US to end its military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, a move that also showed the Senate’s anger with the Trump administration’s handling of relations with Saudi Arabia.

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