Khashoggi killers will be held accountable

MBS , Pompeo agree there’s need for de-escalation in Yemen

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, receives US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Al-Yamamah Palace. — SPA

Jubeir urges need for continued efforts against Iranian regime’s activity

— Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, received at Al-Yamamah Palace here on Monday US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

During the meeting, they reviewed historical and strategic relations between the two friendly countries, latest developments in the Middle East region and efforts being exerted towards them.

Crown Prince Muhammad and Pompeo also discussed developments in Yemen, agreeing on the need for de-escalation in the country.

The Crown Prince and Pompeo also agreed on the need to adhere to the Sweden agreements, especially the ceasefire and redeployment in Hodeida.

They also agreed that a comprehensive political solution is the only way to end the conflict.

Pompeo, meanwhile, will cut short the rest of his Middle East trip to attend a family funeral, a State Department spokesman said later.

Pompeo will return home after meetings in Oman instead of traveling on to Kuwait, deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said.

The US officials said the death was in the family of his wife, who accompanied him on the trip and will return with him.

The top US diplomat met separately with King Salman for 35 minutes and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for another 45 minutes, according to reporters traveling with him.

Pompeo on Monday accused Yemen’s rebels of failing to comply with a ceasefire agreement for the flashpoint city of Hodeida reached at UN-sponsored talks in Sweden.

“The work that was done in Sweden on Yemen was good, but both sides (need) to honor those commitments,” Pompeo said. “Today, the Iranian-backed Houthis have chosen not to do that.”

Pompeo also said that Saudi leaders assured him that everyone responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be held accountable. He said he had also raised a number of human rights issues with the King and the Crown Prince, including women’s rights activists who have been detained for months and some allegedly tortured.

“They both acknowledged that accountability needed to take place. They talked about the process that is occurring inside their country, both the investigative process and the judicial process that is taking place,” Pompeo said. “They reiterated their commitment to achieve the objective.”

He said he had also raised the Gulf Arab dispute with Qatar after saying a day earlier in Qatar that it had gone on for too long and was threatening regional unity needed to counter Iran.

“We did talk about how we might put the Gulf rift back in a better place,” he said. “I think they’d like to see that too. It’s a matter of us all figuring out how to do it together, but mostly those countries figuring out how they can put it back together.”

The Crown Prince and Pompeo also discussed US plans to withdraw troops from Syria.

Pompeo, whose earlier stops included Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Doha, proceeded to Oman to meet Sultan Qaboos.

Pompeo and Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, according to the US State Deparment’s released statement, had earlier discussed the need for continued regional efforts to stand against the Iranian regime’s malign activity and to advance peace, prosperity, and security.

They also discussed critical regional issues, including Iran, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, and Afghanistan. Pompeo and Jubeir also agreed on the importance of continuing to support political progress in order to achieve peace in Yemen.

According to the State Department’s statement, Pompeo and Jubeir “looked forward to working together to continue building upon the important, strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”

Pompeo was received by Al-Jubeir and Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid Bin Salman in Riyadh on Sunday night. — SPA/Agencies