Saudi Arabia on Monday rejected a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate last week that condemned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his alleged role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and columnist for the Washington Post, in October.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said that the resolution was “based upon unsubstantiated claims and allegations, and contained blatant interferences in the Kingdom’s regional and international role.”
#Statement | KSA rejects the position expressed recently by the U.S. Senate, which was based upon unsubstantiated claims and allegations, and contained blatant interferences in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, undermining the Kingdom’s regional and international role pic.twitter.com/smA8kbQQGB
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) December 16, 2018
According to a CIA report, the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in the fall was ordered by bin Salman (also known as MBS), who denies the allegations. U.S. President Donald Trump last month dismissed the intelligence findings that all but confirm MBS’s culpability.
“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said in a bizarre statement in November.
The Gulf kingdom again denied the allegations in its statement posted on Twitter Monday, calling the murder a “deplorable crime that does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy.”
“The Kingdom categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect his leadership,” the statement continued. “The Kingdom also emphasizes that such a position will not affect its leading role in the region, in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and internationally.”
Prior to passing the resolution, the Senate voted on another largely symbolic bipartisan resolution to end military support of the Gulf Kingdom and its coalition airstrikes in Yemen. The legislation marked the first time the Senate invoked the War Powers Resolution to pull the United States out of an overseas war — one which, in this case, has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians.
Both votes signaled a strong rebuke to Trump’s foreign policy agenda with respect to Saudi Arabia. Before the vote, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) took to the floor to criticize the “distorted” U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo mentioned in his op-ed … that the crown prince has ‘moved the country in a reformist direction,’” Menendez said. “What the secretary did not mention, however, are the deeply disturbing reports that at the same time MBS was granting Saudi women the right to drive, he also detained many female activists who were themselves calling for the rights of women … Is this the kind of reform that Secretary Pompeo believes the United States should endorse?”