Washington DC, June 12: The United States President Donald Trump-led administration was pressing on Saudi Arabia to express “tangible progress” for holding accountable those perpetrators behind the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate of Istanbul and wanted Riyadh to do so before the first death anniversary of Khashoggi, a senior US official said.
According to Reuters news reports, the administration officials have last week stated the message sent to the Kingdom is that the killing of Khashoggi remains a “very hot issue” and Riyadh “need to take it seriously”.
Citing the CIA assessment about the role of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, also knows as MbS, in the Khashoggi case, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have ratcheted up their efforts to block the US president’s arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said Saudi Arabia required to complete its probe into the case and take concrete action ahead of the death anniversary but however, did not offer further details over consequences if Riyadh fails to do so.
Khashoggi was murdered last year on October 2 in Saudi consulate of Istanbul. It was alleged MbS had ordered the killing of the journalist, although the Kingdom strongly dismissed the claims.
“There will be increased sensitivity around the anniversary,” the official said. “It would be in everyone’s best interest to have some tangible progress by then.”
Trump has expressed uncertainty about the CIA assessment, arguing the US must not risk its relations and alliance with Saudi Arabia.