September 26, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a congressional delegation visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month by U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) – where they were the first lawmakers to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 18 months – the Crown Prince has broken his silence on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. According to reports, the Crown Prince said in a forthcoming PBS interview, “It happened under my watch. I get all the responsibility, because it happened under my watch.” This echoes what the Crown Prince told Senators King and Young during their meeting in Jeddah on September 8.
“We’re encouraged that, after Senator Young and I pressured the Crown Prince earlier this month to take responsibility for the actions of his government, he has publicly admitted that ultimate responsibility for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi lies with him,” said Senator King. “As we told the Crown Prince, public actions, not private assurances, will show that the Saudi Arabia is interested in seriously addressing the trust deficit between the Kingdom and the United States Congress. This public statement is a positive step, but the Kingdom must do much more. We will be watching closely to ensure that Saudi Arabia swiftly brings all parties involved in this barbarous crime to justice – including, if he played any role, Saud al-Qhatani.”
“During our meeting, we pressed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman firmly on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and he took responsibility as the leader of Saudi Arabia,” said Senator Young. “I’m glad to see that he has come forward publicly to take responsibility as the nation’s leader. As Senator King and I wrote in an op-ed following our visit, Saudi Arabia is an important strategic partner, but not one we will support at any cost. If Saudi Arabia seeks to transform into a 21st century leader, it must continue taking public actions to show they are serious about repairing the trust between our two nations.”
Senators King and Young traveled to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman on a congressional delegation visit earlier this month. In addition to pressing the Crown Prince on the death of Jamal Khashoggi, they also discussed the humanitarian and security crisis in Yemen and releasing pledged humanitarian relief. Senators King and Young also met with other regional leaders including the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed, foreign diplomats, and U.S. military personnel serving aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez. Their meetings were focused on tensions with Iran, countering global terrorism, the civil war in Yemen, and priority humanitarian issues.