Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is “technically responsible” for the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, said on Wednesday.
In an interview with the US’ The Atlantic – carried out on Wednesday and released on Friday – Haley stressed that the US would not “give Saudis a pass,” calling on her administration to “decide” what steps it will take.
The US administration, she added, must resolve this issue without “having to choose between its interests and its values,” referring to the US President Donald Trump’s arms deals with the kingdom.
“Bin Salman’s government did this [murdered Khashoggi], and so he technically is responsible,” the US official reiterated.
Haley’s stance in the murder case opposes Trump and his aides’, who have been steadfastly refusing to say that the Saudi Crown Prince was responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
“We have Saudi government officials that did this in the Saudi consulate in Turkey,” Haley pointed out, stressing: “We can’t give them a pass because that’s not who America is.”
“This is why the Trump administration has sanctioned 17 Saudi officials accused of involvement in the murder,” she explained.
Haley, who’s leaving her post by the end of this month, said that Washington could simultaneously consider Saudi Arabia as its “complete partner when it comes to fighting Iran.” “We’re [US administration] not going to continue to be Saudi’s partner if you continue to use thuggish behaviour.”
“The US government can’t condone Khashoggi’s murder, we can’t ever say it’s OK, we can’t ever support thuggish behaviour, and we have to say that,” the US envoy added.
Khashoggi, The Washington Post’s former columnist, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. With the world watching, after initially saying he had left the consulate alive, weeks later the Saudi administration admitted he was killed there.