Saudi Arabia has rejected a U.S. Senate bipartisan resolution that blamed Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the Associated Press (AP). The Saudi government used strong language in rebuking the Senate’s actions, saying it was unwarranted and unwanted intrusion into the affairs of the Saudi kingdom.
In a very direct statement released early Monday, Saudi Arabia said the U.S. Senate resolution “contained blatant interference in the kingdom’s internal affairs and undermines its regional and international role.”
The statement also said that the Senate resolution “was based on unsubstantiated claims and allegations.”
“The kingdom categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership … and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature,” it added.
The response to the Senate action is a clear sign that the relationship between the Saudi royal court and the U.S. Congress has significantly deteriorated. The controversy began on October 6 when Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The Turkish government has provided evidence to the U.S. CIA which shows that the Khashoggi murder was carried out by assassins working at the direction of the Saudi Crown Prince, MBS.
On Thursday the U.S. Senate passed the measure that blamed the prince for Khashoggi’s killing and called on Saudi Arabia to “ensure appropriate accountability.” Senators also passed a separate measure calling for the end of U.S. aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Both resolutions were not supported by the Trump administration. Donald Trump and his family are known to have long-standing financial ties to the Saudi government, and this is believed to have affected the U.S. government policy, which has been “hands off.” In fact President Trump issued a statement last month saying that MBS had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s murder.
According to the AP report, the strong language in the Saudi statement “is usually reserved for those who criticize the kingdom’s human rights record, such as Sweden in 2015 after the public flogging of a blogger, and Canada this year over the arrests of women’s rights activists.”
But the language was made clear that the kingdom “reaffirms” its commitment to relations with the United States and described the Senate as “an esteemed legislative body of an allied and friendly government.”
The Saudi statement said the Senate’s resolution will not affect the kingdom’s “leading role in the region, its role in supporting the stability of international energy markets, its counter-terrorism cooperation and its stand with the U.S. in confronting Iran.”
The statement then added that the Saudi government believes that the Senate’s action “sends the wrong messages to all those who want to cause a rift in Saudi-U.S. relationship.”