By Menna Ahmad
MANAMA (AA) – The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi undermines stability in the Middle East region, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday.
“With our collective interests in peace and unwavering respect for human rights in mind, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a diplomatic facility must concern us all,” Mattis said in remarks to the annual Manama Dialogue security conference in Bahrain.
“Failure of any one nation to adhere to international norms and the rule of law undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most," Mattis said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After weeks of denying any knowledge of his whereabouts, Saudi officials last week admitted that Khashoggi had died inside the consulate building.
Turkish police have been investigating the Khashoggi’s murder. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 18 suspects arrested in Saudi Arabia over the killing should be extradited to Turkey to face the trial.
Mattis said he will continue to consult with U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to consider the implications of the Khashoggi issue.
He said that the U.S. State Department plans to take "further action in response to the killing".
As for relations with Saudi Arabia, Mattis said the U.S. respect for the Saudi people was "undiminished", stressing that respect "must come with transparency and trust."