The US State Department announced that the United States is “focusing on the future behavior” of Saudi Arabia after the sanctions it imposed on some Kingdom officials regarding the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We are very focused on the future behavior (of Saudi Arabia), and that is one of the reasons why we did not present this as a severing (of relations), but rather a reassessment (of them),” ministry spokesman Ned Price said on Monday.
He added, “We are trying to reach the methodological issues behind the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Price said the United States welcomed Saudi Arabia’s recent release of two human rights activists, but called on Riyadh to do more and lift the travel ban on them.
“We urge Saudi Arabia to take additional steps – to lift the travel ban for those released, to relax (judicial) rulings, and to resolve cases like those of human rights activists and others,” he said.
White House spokeswoman Jane Psaki said Monday that the United States reserves the right to impose sanctions on Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after Washington on Friday lifted the secrecy of a report that the crown prince approved an operation in 2018 to arrest or kill Khashoggi, and issued sanctions against Saudi citizens and entities. .
Rights groups and others criticized Prince Mohammed for not covering US sanctions, raising questions about accountability and President Joe Biden’s administration pledging to make human rights a foreign policy priority.
The Saudi crown prince denied his involvement in the killing of Khashoggi, for which eight citizens were imprisoned in Saudi Arabia last year, but he said that he bears ultimate responsibility because the accident happened while he was in power.