April 12, 2019
WASHINGTON - US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday he was still trying to determine the best way to respond to the October murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate, but described the kingdom as an important US ally against Iran.
“We’re trying to figure out the best way to” respond, McConnell said at a roundtable meeting with reporters.
“Obviously what clearly happened is outrageous and unacceptable. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia’s an important ally against the Iranians. So it is a difficult problem to figure out exactly the most appropriate response.”
Members of Congress, including some Senate Republicans as well as Democrats, have been clamoring for Republican President Donald Trump to take a stronger line against Saudi Arabia.
They are concerned not just about the death of Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist killed in October at a Saudi consulate in Turkey, but also the heavy toll on civilians of the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
A CIA assessment has blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for ordering Khashoggi’s killing. Riyadh denies the prince had any involvement in the murder.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation seeking to impose sanctions on Saudi officials, but they have failed to advance in the Senate. - Reuters
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