Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Pompeo to cut short Middle East tour to attend funeral

Pompeo to cut short Middle East tour to attend funeral

Pompeo was meeting with the Saudi king and crown prince on Monday, the latest stop of a Middle East tour that has so far been dominated by questions and concerns about the withdrawal of USA troops from Syria. He said the Saudis understood and had reiterated pledges to pursue the case wherever it leads.

Khashoggi was killed on October 2 in a case which stunned the world and threatened a serious rift between Riyadh and Washington.

He said the Saudis reiterated their pledges to pursue the case wherever it leads, but would not comment on United States intelligence suggesting the crown prince may have ordered the killing himself.

SHAPIRO: And there have also been things that distracted from his message, like the USA troop withdrawal in Syria - lots of questions about that.

"We will continue to have a conversation with the crown prince and the Saudis about ensuring that the accountability is full and complete with respect to the unacceptable murder of Jamal Khashoggi", Pompeo said.

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.

"They understand the concerns that some have and they are going to do their best to communicate as appropriate", he said. The State Department said Monday that Pompeo would cancel his planned final stop in Kuwait on Tuesday due a death in his family. "Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds". "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.

Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the latest stop of his Middle East tour that has so far been dominated by questions and concerns about the withdrawal of USA troops from Syria. Trump's decision to leave Syria, which he initially said would be rapid but later slowed down, shocked USA allies and angered the Syrian Kurds.

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Schellenberg had originally been sentenced to 15 years in prison and a 150,000-yuan ($22,000) forfeiture in November. China is believed to execute more people annually than any other country, but is highly secretive about the number.

Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said later Monday that they spoke by phone to discuss cooperation on the withdrawal of the approximately 2,000 USA troops from Syria. And a Department of Defense statement said the withdrawal "is not subject to an arbitrary timeline" and that the US would "continue to pursue ISIS in the last remaining space they now influence". "I think they'd like to see that too".

"We've applied sanctions in many places around the world".

Speaking from Lebanon, where he met with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, Mr Hale said: "Secretary Pompeo asked me to come to Lebanon to discuss America's regional strategy".

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.

He lamented that the Houthis were not living up to pledges they made at United Nations -brokered peace talks in Sweden. In this case you have Iranian-backed Houthis, Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq, Iranian-backed forces in Syria, and in each case the root of the challenge stems from the revolutionary nature of the Islamic regime and their efforts overseas.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt - all U.S. allies - cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups and seeking closer ties to Saudi arch-rival Iran.

The president's top diplomat went on to describe the withdrawal - which in part resulted in the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis - as "a tactical change" in USA military strategy and said the "mission remains the same" in regard to the administration's efforts to destroy the Islamic State group and terror threats from Iran.

However, Pompeo later admitted in a Q&A session with U.S. embassy staff in Doha that no progress was made on resolving the issue.

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