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Senators Press Release of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Jamal Hashogi's Murder



While King declined to disclose the specifics of the personal conversation during an interview with CNN, he said he and Young were "very, very direct" in their conversation with the Crown Prince, known as MBS, and made it clear that Hashoghi assassination issue remains "major obstacle" in US-Saudi relations

Senators met with Crown Prince during his recent trip to the region as part of congressional delegation to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.

Administration officials, including President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are reluctant to say whether they discussed Hashogi's murder with the Saudi heir or other senior officials, while they had several opportunities to do so after the killing happened last year. .

King said that bin Salman was "not angry" and "didn't look surprised or confused" when they raised the issue of Hashogi's murder, but was "ready to speak up and stand against him."

"I think he knows there is a problem. He knows it needs to be more open and people need to be held accountable," King said, adding that the Crown Prince "knows what the expectations are" in terms of

"Participants should be held accountable and I think he should take some level of responsibility, whether he gave the order or not," King said, referring to bin Salman. "He is still head of state and it happened on his watch, "he continued.

" I believe they will continue, but … it remains to be seen what they will actually do, "he added.

Earlier this summer, President Donald Trump said he was" extremely angry and very unhappy "about Hashogi's assassination, but claimed that" no one has directly pointed a finger at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the CIA's findings and the UN report.

An independent assassination report published earlier this year by Agnes Kalamar, the UN special rapporteur, concluded that the killing was planned , organized and conducted by employees working on behalf of governmental attentive Saudi Arabia.

According to international human rights law, this means that ultimately the responsibility falls on the ruling Saudi royal family, effectively run by bin Salman. The report said there was "credible evidence that merits further investigation by a competent authority" as to whether the "criminal liability threshold has been met."

Kalamar's report suggests that existing international sanctions are being applied to Saudis, are insufficient and this bin Salman and his personal assets must be affected by targeted sanctions, "until and until evidence is presented and confirmed that he is not responsible for that execution"

King said that it remains to be seen that did bin salman eventually accept any personal responsibility for the killing of hashogi or ensure that those directly involved would be brought to justice but told CNN that he believed the saudi throne "knew what it was the expectation. "

The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington did not immediately respond to CNN's Request for Comment.

The War in Yemen

During the trip, King and Young also talked with Saudi military personnel about the ongoing war in Yemen, which raised particular concerns for both lawmakers. Young and King voted against Saudi Arabia's proposed military sales because of concerns about civilian casualties in Yemen.

"I don't want to be complicit in killing civilians. That's pretty straight forward," King said.

Earlier this month, the United Nations group said the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Iran could be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by delivering weapons to various parties to the conflict.

  US, UK, France and Iran UN may be complicit in war crimes in Yemen, according to UN

Weapons "continue the conflict" and prolong the suffering of Yemeni people, Melissa Park, a member of the prominent Yemen expert group commissioned by the UN, said during a press conference presenting the group's findings.

The panel also accused Saudi Arabia's coalition partners, the United Arab Emirates and the internationally recognized Yemen government – along with Iran-backed rebels fighting the coalition – of enjoying a "widespread lack of accountability."

CNN that Saudi officials are trying to reassure them that they are working to become more accurate without targeting and avoiding collateral. US officials in Saudi Arabia have confirmed that these efforts are ongoing, he added.

"There appears to be some progress," King said, noting that he believed the Saudis and Emirates were planning to abandon the conflict in Yemen.

Last month, the internationally recognized government of Yemen accused the UAE of executing deadly air strikes on its troops as they fought around the key city of Aden – an indication of divisions within a Saudi-led coalition formed to fight the Houthi rebels.
  Saudi Arabian government in Yemen accuses the UAE of attacking its forces

More than 40 people killed and 70 others injured strikes against government forces – also backed by Saudi Arabia, a government spokesman told CNN at the time.

The rapid deterioration of the situation threatens the spread of humanitarian aid in Yemen, where more than three-quarters of the population relies on survival assistance and 10 million are on the verge of starvation.

However, King said on Tuesday that Saudi leaders have pledged to contribute $ 500 million to humanitarian aid in Yemen "by the end of this month."

"And the UAE is doing something similar. So there will be humanitarian aid, which comes to Yemen in a very short order, which is absolutely necessary," he said.


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