PressTV-US Cabinet members defend close ties with Saudi Arabia

Two senior US Cabinet members have urged senators not to downgrade relations with Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but members of Congress from both political parties said they could not ignore reports that Saudi’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in last month’s killing.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said on Wednesday there was no hard evidence that bin Salman was behind the killing, apparently contradicting an assessment by the CIA about Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.

After repeated calls from members of Congress for a strong US response to Khashoggi’s death, both Mattis and Pompeo briefed the Senate behind closed doors about Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and the murder of Khashoggi.

Echoing similar comments from US President Donald Trump, they said downgrading Washington’s ties with Riyadh…

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