12.06.18

Sen. Coons, bipartisan colleagues introduce resolution to hold Saudi Crown Prince accountable for killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Resolution also seeks to hold Saudi leader accountable for atrocities in Yemen, blockade of Qatar, use of force to intimidate rivals

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), and Todd Young (R-Indiana) introduced a Senate Resolution that holds Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman accountable for contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents within Saudi Arabia, the use of force to intimidate rivals, and the abhorrent and unjustified killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The United States Senate should speak in a clear, bipartisan voice to say that we will not tolerate the kinds of egregious human rights violations we’ve seen from Saudi leadership and, in particular, from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” said Senator Coons.  “The world has long looked to the United States to lead on human rights, and this is an important moment to show that we will not compromise our core values.”

“I believe it’s vitally important to U.S. national security interests to make a definitive statement about the brutal murder of an American resident – Mr. Khashoggi – who has three American citizen children,” said Senator Graham. “This resolution – without equivocation – definitively states that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and has been a wrecking ball to the region jeopardizing our national security interests on multiple fronts. It will be up to Saudi Arabia as to how to deal with this matter. But it is up to the United States to firmly stand for who we are and what we believe.”

“The world is entitled to know all the perpetrators of this terrible murder, and they must be held accountable. President Trump’s willingness to ignore the crown prince’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is unacceptable,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our resolution corrects that by condemning the crown prince’s actions and stating he should be held responsible for this murder, the blockade in Qatar and for human rights abuses in the Saudi Arabia and Yemen.” 

“Our values as Americans must be central to our foreign policy.  Saudi Arabia is an important ally but not an ally at any cost.  There is no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, condoned it, and at worst was actually involved in directing it,” Senator Rubio said. “The U.S. must demand accountability and press for the release of all Saudi political prisoners, including blogger Raif Badawi and women’s rights activists.” 

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is not the reformer he pretends to be. He is a thug and under his rule, the Kingdom has cracked down forcefully on dissent, taken aggressive actions against neighbors like Lebanon and Qatar that have destabilized the region, created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis through its brutal war in Yemen, and decided it may commit extraterritorial killings with impunity,” said Senator Markey. “Saudi Arabia is heading in the wrong direction, and the benefits of our relationship with the Kingdom are quickly being outweighed by Mohammad bin Salman’s blatant disregard for fundamental freedoms and international norms. It is time to re-think our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and President Trump must make publicly clear that the United States will not tolerate this behavior by anyone, even our so-called friends. This resolution would ensure that the United States Senate is on the record as condemning the Crown Prince’s murdering of an American journalist and that we will not tolerate the actions of a regime that violates basic human rights and freedoms.”

“The failure over the last year and half to utilize all available U.S. leverage with respect to Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen has left the Crown Prince with the mistaken impression that the United States will turn a blind eye to his increasingly brazen atrocities. Those who suggest we must sacrifice our principles for security will have neither,” said Senator Young.     

The Graham-Feinstein-Rubio-Markey-Young-Coons Resolution:

·         condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of Jamal Khashoggi;

·         finds that as Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman was in control of the security forces at the time of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder;

·         based on evidence and analysis made available to this institution, the Senate has a high level of confidence that Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi;

·         urges the United States Government and the international community to hold all parties, including Mohammed bin Salman, involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi accountable;

·         calls on the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to negotiate directly with representatives of the Houthi movement in order to end the war in Yemen, agree on a political resolution, reverse the humanitarian crisis, and refocus efforts on defeating al Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen;

·         calls on the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to negotiate a political solution to its dispute with Qatar expeditiously and in a way that restores diplomatic relations with Qatar; and

·         urges the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to immediately release Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the Saudi women’s rights activists, and other detained political prisoners.

Full text of the resolution is attached. 

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Press Contact

Sean Coit at 202-224-5042 or Sean_Coit@coons.senate.gov