Khashoggi murder: US needs to have ‘serious, hard talk’ with Saudi Arabia, says Trump’s UN envoy

The outgoing ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says the US need to make it clear they don't condone the killing

Clémence Michallon
New York
Wednesday 12 December 2018 16:46 GMT
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Nikki Haley: The US needs to have a 'serious talk with the Saudis'

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The US Ambassador to the United Nations has called for the US to have a "serious, hard talk" with Saudi Arabia regarding the killing of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Speaking to the Today show on Wednesday, Nikki Haley said a conversation is needed to make it clear the US doesn't "condone" the murder.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. His death triggered a political crisis in Saudi Arabia and tore relations with the US and other Western allies.

“I think we need to have a serious, hard talk with the Saudis to let them know we won’t condone this, we won't give you a pass and don't do this again," Haley said.

The outgoing ambassador, who resigned in October and will leave her post at the end of the year, was giving an "exit interview" to NBC.

"I think the administrations have to talk about where we go from here," she added.

"What I can tell you that's so important is that the Saudis have been our partner in defeating and dealing with Iran. And that has been hugely important."

Haley was asked about Trump "entertaining the possibility" that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wasn't "aware" of the killing, even as the CIA has assessed with medium to high confidence that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's death.

NBC's Craig Melvin brought up reports that Trump's stance is motivated by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's "fairly close relationship" with bin Salman.

Haley side-stepped the question.

"In reference to Jared, I mean, those rumours fly all the time. We have relationships with lots of countries and our goal is to make relationships better," she said.

"But when these things happen, we have to step back and never back away from our principles."

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that investigations into the killing of Khashoggi were still ongoing but that the US would hold those found responsible accountable for his death.

Pompeo's comments to Fox News echoed Trump's stance on the case.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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