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US, Russia Stress Importance of Relations with Saudi Arabia

US, Russia Stress Importance of Relations with Saudi Arabia

Friday, 19 October, 2018 - 10:45
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks after his meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, US, October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Ankara, London, Washington- Said Abdel Razek, Asharq Al-Awsat, and Muath al-Amri
The United States and Russia stressed the importance of their relations with Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated his country's adherence to “strong historical relations" with the kingdom and Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow "can not spoil its relations” with Riyadh.

Pompeo said Thursday he told President Donald Trump to give Saudi Arabia "a few more days to complete" an investigation into the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo said that Saudi officials told him during a visit to the kingdom this week that "they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi, and that they will do so in a timely fashion."

Pompeo also noted it was important to be mindful of the United States' "long strategic relationship" with the Saudi kingdom.

Pompeo's remarks came just after the meeting, in which he briefed the president on his overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Later, Trump tweeted on the issue saying that Pompeo returned “last night from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. I met with him this morning wherein the Saudi situation was discussed in great detail, including his meeting with the (Saudi) Crown Prince. He is waiting for the results of the investigations being done by the Saudis and Turkey, and just gave a news conference to that effect.”

Trump stressed in his press meetings on the importance of relations between Washington and Riyadh, noting that his country "needs Saudi Arabia in many areas ... and will not move away from it."

On Wednesday, the US President said he did not want to walk away from Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Khashoggi, arguing the US relies on the kingdom in the fight against terrorism.

"You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that's happening in Iran and other places,” he noted.

In Moscow, the Russian President stressed there is no reason to downgrade relations with Saudi Arabia without a full investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

“What is happening there it is hard to say . . . We do not know what happened in reality. So why should we undertake any steps to deteriorate our relations with Saudi Arabia,” Putin said in his first comments on the issue.

In Ankara, Turkish justice minister Abdulhamit Gul said Khashoggi’s disappearance was being investigated thoroughly by the Istanbul prosecutors office and insisted that “results are expected to come out soon.”

Interviewed at Anadolu Agency, Gul said Turkish prosecutors are investigating the issue "deeply, successfully and in every step of the way."

The Istanbul prosecutors' office will reveal the truth behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, the minister said, insisting that "whatever the international law requires will be done."

Reuters quoted seven US and European security officials as saying that Turkey has not shared with the US government or key European allies graphic audio or video evidence it allegedly collected on Khashoggi’s visit to Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.

A team of Saudi and Turkish investigators spent more than nine hours in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul and the residence of the Consul and his family, while the investigators expanded their work to the vicinity of Istanbul.

In a related development, SAP, Europe’s most valuable tech company, will continue to do business in Saudi Arabia, a top executive told Reuters, saying he hoped the circumstances of the disappearance of Khashoggi are clarified.

“We can’t put a long-term commitment to a market into question in response to an isolated incident,” Chief Financial Officer Luka Mucic told Reuters, adding that he “would hope that this case can be cleared up as soon as possible.”

He indicated that he will visit the country regularly and see high growth potential and high actual growth in the private sector.

“We can’t abandon these customers – we have to deliver on our promise to be a long-term partner,” concluded Mucic.

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