Saudi Arabia rebuked by United Nations over detention of women activists

Saudi Arabia rebuked by United Nations over detention of women activists

"In the long run, we need a strong and mature partnership with Saudi Arabia", Abizaid told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Abizaid said despite the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, alleged abuses of innocent people and Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen, it is in the United States interests to "make sure that the relationship is sound".

Abizaid called for accountability for the murder of Khashoggi, a USA resident, and support for human rights, but repeatedly stressed the strategic importance of Washington-Riyadh ties.

Senators at Abizaid's confirmation hearing included Trump's fellow Republicans, as well as Democrats.

In December 2018, a group of senior senators in the United States attended a closed-door meeting with the Central Intelligence Agency after which they said that the briefing by director Gina Haspel had solidified their belief that the murder was ordered by the crown prince.

Republican Senator Jim Risch, the committee's chairman, said Washington needed to send a strong message to Saudi Arabia about actions that he said are complicating the relationship.

On Wednesday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson echoed Rubio's criticisms of bin Salman, while also using the "full gangster" tagline.

Despite increasing tension between Washington and Riyadh, the United States has not had an ambassador to the kingdom since Trump became US president in January 2017.

Graham went on to say that the murder had caused a breach in the US-Saudi relationship and even though the two nations have always maintained good equation, it doesn't mean that US will stand by everything Riyadh does.

USA lawmakers zeroed in on Khashoggi's murder during the Senate hearings on Wednesday.

It also condemned the murder of self-exiled Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Kingdom's Istanbul consulate last October and called on Saudi authorities to cooperate with "all investigations" into the crime, including one by the UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard. "It is in our interests to make sure that the relationship is sound". "Council members should be subject to more scrutiny, not less, and we urge the council to keep Saudi Arabia on its agenda until we see an end to the brutal targeting of defenders and dissidents, and genuine reform".

The House of Representatives has passed a war powers resolution that would end all United States support for the Saudi-led coalition, but Abizaid said the Trump administration believes strongly that U.S. support should continue.

Lawmakers have been sharply critical of Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful Saudi crown prince.

"Doing so bolsters the self-defense capabilities of our partners and reduces the risk of harm to civilians", Abizaid said.

The Daily Beast's Erin Banco reports that Kushner, who has been on friendly terms with MBS, has visited Saudi Arabia several other times in recent years-and he often visits that part of the world with Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt. "Those responsible must be held to account", Aspelund said. Some blame him for Khashoggi's killing and other human rights abuses.

Senator Bob Menendez, the committee's highest ranking Democrat, acknowledged the strategic importance of Saudi ties, but said the USA "cannot let these interests blind us to our values or to our long term interests in stability".

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