US President Trump has said “the world” should be held accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi when asked to comment yesterday on reports that the CIA had concluded that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman ordered the murder.
Speaking to reporters after delivering a Thanksgiving Day message to US soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Trump said that Saudi Arabia is “tremendously helpful” in the region. He suggested that “Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” and that “if we go by a certain standard we won’t be able to have allies with almost any country”.
Earlier this week, Trump said he would not impose harsher penalties on the Crown Prince. “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel, and all other partners in the region,” he said.
According to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer persuaded the Trump administration not to undermine Crown Prince Salman due to his importance to any future peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The paper says that President Trump has postponed the release of his plan for Israeli-Palestinian talks until the political situation in Israel stabilises following the resignation of Avigdor Lieberman as Defence Minister.
Crown Prince Salman departed for the UAE yesterday for his first official trip since Khashoggi was killed. He is also expected to participate in a G20 meeting of world leaders in Buenos Aires at the end of the month.
France has announced that it is following the UK, US and Germany by imposing sanctions on 18 Saudi nationals allegedly linked to Khashoggi’s murder.