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Saudis committed to holding Khashoggi killers accountable: Pompeo

RIYADH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince have reaffirmed their commitment to hold the killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi accountable.

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “both acknowledge that this accountability needs to take place”, Pompeo said in Riyadh following talks with the two men.

“They reiterated their commitment.”

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was murdered on October 2 in what Saudi Arabia called a “rogue” operation, tipping the kingdom into one of its worst diplomatic crises and subsequently straining ties between Riyadh and Washington.

Pompeo also accused Yemen’s rebels of failing to comply with a ceasefire agreement for the flashpoint city of Hodeida reached at UN-sponsored talks in Sweden.

“The work that was done in Sweden on Yemen was good, but both sides (need) to honour those commitments,

Pompeo’s visit to Riyadh comes as US President Donald Trump faces Congressional pressure to end logistical support to Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military coalition in Yemen on the side of the government.

The rebel-held port city — through which more than 80 percent of imports and humanitarian aid pass — was for months the main front line in the Yemeni conflict after government forces launched an offensive to capture it in June.

The United Nations has said the Hodeida truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of rebel and government forces.

The Huthis control most of Hodeida while government forces are deployed on its southern and eastern outskirts.

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the government in March 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people and unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

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