Saudi Arabia condemned the United States Senate on Monday for a resolution that blames the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, for the brutal killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
The forceful statement comes in response to a Senate resolution passed last week that holds Prince Mohammed responsible for Khashoggi’s assassination and dismemberment inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The Senate voted 56-to-41 to withdraw military support from Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and unanimously passed a resolution assigning blame to the prince for the murder of the Washington Post journalist in October.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects the position expressed recently by the United States 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,” the Kingdom’s statement reads.
Executed by Saudi agents, the murder has motivated several American officials to call for an end to the longstanding alliance. Once the C.I.A. obtained evidence that the Saudi crown prince was in communication with an aide around the time that the aide’s team assassinated Khashoggi, several senators stated that the news only solidified their beliefs that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing.
Last week’s Senate resolution was for the most part just symbolic. To end American support of the Saudi war in Yemen, the bill will need to pass the House of Representatives and become law (dodging a likely presidential veto along the way). That being said, the Saudi government still forcefully criticized the resolution:
While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reaffirms its commitment to continue to further develop its relations with the United States of America, the Kingdom also expresses its concern regarding the positions that were expressed by members of an esteemed legislative body of an allied and friendly government … The Kingdom categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership.
The Kingdom has previously asserted that the murder of Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi is a deplorable crime that does not reflect the Kingdom’s policy nor its institutions … The Kingdom is keen on preserving its relations with the United States of America, and will continue to work towards improving these ties in all areas. The Kingdom appreciates the prudent position taken by the United States Government and its institutions regarding the recent developments, as it realizes that this position by the US Senate sends the wrong messages to all those who want to cause a rift in Saudi-U.S. relationship.
While criticism has grown among the public and several lawmakers, President Trump has continued to support Prince Mohammed, whom he considers to be an important ally in the Middle East.