U.S. Department Of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
November 28, 2018
Senate Subway Stakeout Area
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, good morning, everyone. Secretary Mattis and myself just had the opportunity to brief all the senators who wanted to hear from us. We talked about U.S. policy in Yemen, the U.S. policy with respect to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We also, obviously, spoke about the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and we made clear that they’re considering debating a resolution on the Senate floor which we think is just poorly timed. We are on the cusp of allowing the U.S. envoy, Martin Griffiths, to, in December, gather the parties together and hopefully get a ceasefire in Yemen, something that we have diplomatically been striving for for months, and we think we’re right on the cusp of that. So it is the view of the administration, Secretary Mattis, and myself that passing a resolution at this point undermines that. It would encourage the Houthis, it would encourage the Iranians; it would undermine the fragile agreement for everyone to go to Sweden and have this discussion.
So we hope that they’ll consider that, be thoughtful in how they proceed, and we’re happy to give them further information if they should so choose.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you’re the former CIA director. Why wasn’t the current CIA director here briefing senators as well?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I was asked to be here and here I am.
QUESTION: Secretary Pompeo (inaudible) you’ve seen all the intelligence, presumably. Do you believe that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s killing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: I do believe I’ve read every piece of intelligence. Unless it’s come in in the last few hours, I think I have read it all. There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi. And that’s all I can say in an unclassified setting.
QUESTION: All of Trump’s public statements indicate that Iran is very far from coming to the table for negotiations. How do you rectify the two? Which is true?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, the parties that will be there will be those who are engaged in the civil war in Yemen, so there will be representatives from the Yemeni Government, from the Houthis, all those interested parties. We hope the Iranians won’t upset the apple cart. They have been funding, arming, providing assistance and support to the Houthis, which have allowed the Houthis to continue to fight well beyond what would have made any sense at all, and we do hope the Iranians won’t upset this opportunity to both resolve the civil war and give everyone the opportunity to resolve a massive humanitarian crisis that’s in Yemen today.