Psaki: ‘More Effective Ways’ To Hold Saudi Arabia Responsible For Khashoggi Killing Than To Sanction Crown Prince


“We think there are more effective ways to make sure this doesn’t happen again and also to be able to make room to work with the Saudis in areas where there is mutual agreement, where there are national interests for the United States. That is what it looks like. diplomacy, “Psaki told CNN’s Dana Bash on” State of the Union “when asked why the administration is punishing people under the crown prince but not him.

“This is what complicated global engagement looks like and we have not hidden any secrets and have made it clear that we are going to hold them accountable on the global stage and with direct action,” added Psaki, who called Khashoggi’s killing in 2018 a “crime horrible”.

On Friday, the administration released a declassified intelligence report on Khashoggi’s death that said the crown prince, known as MBS, directly approved of the journalist’s murder. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced visa restrictions affecting 76 Saudis involved in harassing activists and journalists, but did not announce measures affecting the crown prince despite President Joe Biden vowing to punish top Saudi leaders while they were on campaign.
CNN previously reported that two administration officials said sanctioning MBS was never really an option, operating under the belief that it would have been “too complicated” and could have jeopardized US military interests in Saudi Arabia. As a result, the administration did not even ask the State Department to come up with options on how to attack MBS with sanctions, a State Department official said.

Biden said at the White House on Saturday that there will be an announcement on Monday “about what we are going to do with Saudi Arabia in general.” He also told Univision on Friday that he was now dealing with the Saudi king and not bin Salman, and said “the rules are changing” in the United States’ relationship with the Saudis.

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware told Bash later in the show that the administration “has not yet set about recalibrating the relationship between the United States and the Saudi kingdom,” adding that “balancing human rights and our interests and Regional security is part of the hard work of diplomacy. ”

But Coons did not say on Sunday whether he thought the crown prince should be directly punished for Khashoggi’s death, telling Bash that he hopes to “have ongoing discussions with the administration on this issue.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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