Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Saudi Crown Prince, Pompeo agree on need for de-escalation in Yemen

Saudi Crown Prince, Pompeo agree on need for de-escalation in Yemen

After evidence emerged that the killing was done by a team of Saudis sent from Riyadh and closely linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the worldwide community demanded a transparent investigation.

The curtailment means that Pompeo will not visit Kuwait after he visits Muscat later Monday.

The sister of Loujain al-Hathloul, one of several Saudi women's rights activists detained in the kingdom since last summer and accused of treason, pressed Pompeo to raise the issue with officials in Riyadh. Members of Prince Mohammed's entourage have been implicated in the killing and USA lawmakers have demanded America pull back its support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The department said Pompeo also made clear the importance of a credible investigation into Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.

"We're hoping that the unity of GCC will increase in the days and weeks and months ahead", Pompeo said, adding that Gulf unity was essential for a planned Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) that would also include Jordan and Egypt.

"So, we'll continue to talk about that and make sure we have all the facts so that they are held accountable, certainly by the Saudis but by the United States as well".

"They understand the concerns that some have and they are going to do their best to communicate as appropriate", he said.

Pompeo said Saudi Arabia was "still working through their fact-finding process" in the case, and that the doing the same.

"Today, the Iranian-backed Huthis have chosen not to do that".

During his tour of the Middle East, Mr Pompeo announced an worldwide summit on the Middle East in Poland, where he will seek to unite regional actors to find a solution to Iranian aggression.

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Pompeo discussed latest developments in Syria during a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on January 12. Trump unexpectedly announced last month that US forces would be leaving Syria, causing confusion and concern among USA allies.

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Trump tweeted late Sunday that the US will "attack again from existing nearby base if it (IS) reforms". Trump's decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked US allies and angered the Syrian Kurds. "He made this decision to move on, but America's commitment remains unchanged".

"The administration has been very consistent with respect to our requirement that the Turks not go after the Kurds in ways that are inappropriate", Pompeo said.

Asked specifically about what Trump meant by devastating Turkey's economy, Pompeo replied: "We apply sanctions in many places around the world".

They however adhered to agreements made in December at talks in Sweden to end nearly four-year civil war between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and the Iranian-aligned Houthis.

He lamented that the Houthis were not living up to pledges they made at United Nations -brokered peace talks in Sweden.

The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia said both sides had agreed on the need for a redoubled effort for peace in Yemen.

In mid-2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an accusation vehemently denied by Qatar.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Sunday that he had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Qatar regarding the expansion and renovation of al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts thousands of US military personnel and the forward headquarters of the US military's Central Command.

The US, which at first appeared to back the boycott of Qatar, has so far been unsuccessful in trying to end the dispute.

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