Pompeo: Qatar diplomatic crisis ‘has dragged on too long’


Pompeo's visit to Saudi Arabia, where he will be hosted by Prince Mohammed, is part of an extensive eight-day trip to Amman, Cairo, Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, and finally Kuwait City.

The Trump administration expects Saudi Arabia to hold "every single person" responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi accountable, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday after talks with senior Saudi officials that also focused on Mideast crises and countering threats from Iran.

Pompeo and the two Saudi officials met for an hour, according to reporters traveling with him and they discussed tensions with Iran, the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan and the Khashoggi case, the State Department said in a statement.

In protest over the president's handling of the matter, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan resolution that put the blame for the killing of Khashoggi squarely on the Saudi crown prince.

Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also said his country's relationship with America "has enabled us to confront so many regional and worldwide challenges".

The relationship between Riyadh and Washington remains tense following Khashoggi's brutal slaying and dismemberment at the consulate.

During Pompeo's previous visit to Riyadh at the height of the Khashoggi affair, his broad smiles with the crown prince had outraged some Americans.

"I want to talk to you about a couple of places we've been".

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The assailant raised his arms triumphantly to the crowd after the attack, before being tackled and arrested by security guards. One eyewitness told broadcaster TVN that the man appeared "happy with what he had done".

Rights groups have called on Pompeo to also press Prince Mohammed over the jailing of women activists in the kingdom, amid claims that many of them faced sexual harassment and torture during interrogation.

"We spoke about human rights issues here in Saudi Arabia, women activists", he said.

Hathloul's sister, Loujain, is among more than a dozen activists arrested last May - just before the historic lifting of Saudi Arabia's decades-long ban on women drivers.

"It diminishes our ability to all work together", he said of the spat that began in June 2017 with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates boycotting of Qatar, alleging it funds extremist groups and has too-cozy ties to Iran.

Washington has also welcomed "Qatar's generous offer to expand critical facilities at bases used by U.S. forces in the country and to align operating procedures at these bases with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation standards, thereby increasing the operational capability of United States and coalition forces based in Qatar".

The ongoing dispute between Qatar and four of America's other close Arab partners will also feature in Pompeo's talks as it continues to be a major hindrance in a US -led effort to unite the Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan in a military alliance to counter Iran.

Attempts at mediation have stalled, as highlighted by the recent resignation of U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni - who quit because of an apparent "lack of will" on behalf of "regional leaders" for regional reconciliation.

For Washington, turning the page on the crisis is essential for the successful launch of the Strategic Alliance of the Middle East, a NATO-style security pact that includes Gulf countries as well as Egypt and Jordan.