Pompeo: US to hold Khashoggi killers accountable

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged on Sunday to hold accountable those responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo had a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"The Secretary emphasized that the United States will hold all of those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable, and that Saudi Arabia must do the same," said Nauert.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.

So far, 18 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

On Yemen, Pompeo reiterated Washington’s calls for a "cessation of hostilities and for all parties to come to the table to negotiate a peaceful solution" to the conflict under the UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.


ABD'den Suudi Arabistan'a “Kaşıkçı” uyarısı

WASHINGTON (AA) – Suudi Arabistan Veliaht Prensi Muhammed bin Selman ile görüşen ABD Dışişleri Bakanı Mike Pompeo, "Cemal Kaşıkçı'nın öldürülmesi olayına karışan herkesin ABD tarafından sorumlu tutulacağını" belirtti.

ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığı Sözcüsü Heather Nauert, Bakan Pompeo ile Suudi Arabistan Veliaht Prensi Muhammed bin Selman arasındaki telefon görüşmesine ilişkin yazılı açıklama yaptı.

Nauert, açıklamasında, "Bakan Pompeo, ABD'nin, Cemal Kaşıkçı'nın öldürülmesine karışanların tamamını sorumlu tutacağını ve Suudi Arabistan'ın da aynı şeyi yapması gerektiğini vurguladı." ifadelerine yer verdi.

Nauert'in açıklamasına göre görüşmede Yemen konusu da ele alındı ve Pompeo "bir an önce bu ülkede çatışmaların durdurulması" konusunda ABD'nin çağrısını yineledi.

Pompeo'nun ayrıca, BM Özel Temsilcisinin şemsiyesi altında Yemen'de barışçıl bir siyasi çözüm için tarafların masaya oturması gerektiğine de vurgu yaptığı kaydedildi.

US: cooperation with China vital despite differences

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Cooperation with China is "essential" to addressing some of the greatest problems in the international arena, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday following bilateral security talks with Chinese officials.

That is despite glaring differences between Washington and Beijing on a bevy of subjects, including China's militarization of the South China Sea, the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Iranian oil importers, and Washington's unwavering insistence on the North Korea's full denuclearization prior to the lifting of U.S. and international sanctions.

Addressing reporters following talks with Defense Secretary James Mattis and their Chinese counterparts, Pompeo said China's cooperation in the continued implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on Pyongyang "will help achieve meaningful breakthroughs on this important denuclearization issue."

He further pointed to U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil imports, which the U.S. gave China a six-month waiver for earlier this month along with seven other countries, saying that Beijing's assistance in ending its imports of Iranian oil is critical to a U.S. campaign of pressure on Iran.

China along with the U.S. brokered an accord with Tehran in 2015 that lifted international sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for a robust sanctions regime on Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally exited Washington from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May, despite calls from all the other signatories, including China, for the U.S. to stay in the pact.

Washington has since re-imposed all of the sanctions it lifted as part of the agreement, hoping to scuttle it while the remaining parties seek to ensure its continued implementation.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi urged the importance of the accord's continued implementation in order to contribute to the "peace and stability of the region."

Pompeo further continued to press China to halt its militarization of the disputed South China Sea, which has included the development of artificial islands that have been transformed into military installations.

"We pressed China to live up to its past commitments in this area," he said.

The U.S. has been carrying out what it calls "freedom of operation" activities to ensure its and other countries access to the strategic waterway, regularly flying and sailing vessels, which China insists are provocative actions.

Yang continued to make the point following Friday's talks, saying China has asked Washington to immediately stop its operations around the territories China claims, "and stop actions that undermine China's sovereignty and security interests."

The U.S. insists it is abiding by international law in carrying out the activities, and Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. is seeking a "peaceful resolution of all disputes in the South China Sea."

Pompeo said he raised the issue of religious freedom in China, specifically pointing to the "800,000 to possibly millions of Muslims that have been denied their freedoms" in China's Xinjiang province.

Iran blames US for crimes against humanity in Yemen

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – The U.S. is responsible for crimes against humanity regarding Iran and Yemen, Iran’s Foreign Minister said Thursday.

"You know what @SecPompeo? It's the Yemenis themselves who're responsible for famine they're facing. They should've simply allowed your butcher clients—who spend billions on bombing school buses & "millions to mitigate this risk"–to annihilate them w/o resisting. #HaveYouNoShame,"Javad Zarif said on Twitter.

On Oct. 30, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for the cessation of hostilities in Yemen. He said in a statement that missile and drone strikes by Iran-allied Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should stop and air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition must cease in all populated areas of Yemen.

"Just as with Yemen, @SecPompeo blames Iran for unlawful US sanctions preventing Iranians’ access to financial services for food and medicine. Naturally, we will provide them for our people in spite of US efforts. But US is accountable for crimes against humanity re Iran & Yemen," Zarif said.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

In recent months, the fighting has been largely concentrated in Al-Hudaydah, where the two sides continue to fight over a strategic seaport located between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Ongoing violence in Yemen has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, prompting the UN to describe the situation as one of “the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

US lawmakers rip Israel bill to seize church land

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – A bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers has slammed Israel for a bill winding its way through the Israeli parliament that Christian leaders have warned would reduce the faithful's presence in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem's Christian leaders say the "Tenants' Rights Law" is aimed at expropriating church property in the holy city.

The bill, which was introduced by Rachel Azaria, a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, for the centrist Kulanu Party, would allow properties in Jerusalem that were sold earlier by the Greek Orthodox Church to private developers to be handed over to the state, effectively nationalizing them.

The group of eight lawmakers from the House of Representatives and Senate sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday protesting the bill's advancement in the Knesset, saying they are "concerned that this bill threatens the sustainability of the historic Christian presence in Jerusalem."

The letter, which is signed by Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Robert Aderholt, Gus Bilirakis, Anna Eshoo, Jeff Fortenberry, Andy Harris, Randy Hultgren and James McGovern, was first reported by the Jerusalem Post.

None of the lawmaker's offices who Anadolu Agency reached out to responded to requests seeking corroboration of the letter.

The lawmakers said "the impact of this bill will fall almost entirely on church properties."

"The resultant loss of church resources by provisions requiring church properties be subject to nationalization would make it impossible for the churches to continue to deliver their ministry within the wider community," they wrote asking the administration to "do everything in its power to work with the government of Israel to resolve this matter and ensure a lasting resolution."

US resumes all pre-nuclear deal sanctions on Iran

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. snapped back all of the sanctions it lifted on Iran following a historic pact world powers struck with the Islamic Republic.

Announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced last week, the sanctions which cover Iran's energy, shipbuilding, shipping and financial sectors took effect Monday.

They are the second batch the U.S. administration reinstated since President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal in May despite objections from close allies in Europe.

The U.S. is seeking to "alter" Iranian behavior with the sanctions, and has been leaking out a stream of 12 demands it wants to see Iran agree to in exchange for re-lifting the economic penalties.

Eight countries who have significantly curtailed their imports of Iranian oil have been granted temporary waivers to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil after the penalties take effect.

Two of the countries have agreed to reduce imports to zero while six others "will import at greatly reduced levels," Pompeo said.

The U.S. expects to have reduced Iranian oil exports by more than 1 million barrels even before Monday's tranche of economic penalties, which the U.S. has long warned were incoming.

In all, 700 Iranian entities will be added to sanctions lists on Monday, according to Mnuchin.

More than half, or about 400, will have had their designations lifted as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action while roughly 300 will be new designations.

All of the other signatories — China, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Russia and the United Kingdom — have remained in the deal despite the U.S. action.

The accord provided Iran with billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions in exchange for sweeping curbs on and inspections of its nuclear program.

UPDATE – US congratulates Brazil's Bolsonaro on election victory


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. on Monday congratulated Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on his recent electoral victory.

"We salute Brazil’s strong commitment to democracy and congratulate the Brazilian people on participating in a successful election," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

"We value our deep cooperation with Brazil and look forward to working with President-elect Bolsonaro in the coming years."

The far-right candidate won Sunday's runoff election to become Brazil's next president.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he personally wished Bolsonaro congratulations during a telephone call, which he called "excellent".

"We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else!" Trump said on Twitter.

With 99 percent of the ballots counted, Bolsonaro garnered 55.1 percent of the votes compared to 44.9 percent of the electorate who cast ballots for Fernando Haddad, the candidate of the left-wing Workers' Party.

In the first round of the election earlier this month, Bolsonaro received 46.89 percent of the ballots. Haddad got 28 percent.

In his victory speech, the former army captain vowed to defend "the constitution, democracy and freedom" in the country.

The State Department confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke by telephone with Bolsonaro on Monday.

"The Secretary congratulated Mr. Bolsonaro on his win and reinforced the vibrant partnership between the United States and Brazil based on our mutual commitment to promote security, democracy, economic prosperity, and human rights," Nauert said in a separate statement.

"They discussed collaboration on priority foreign policy issues including Venezuela, countering transnational crime, and ways to strengthen economic ties between the United States and Brazil, the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere," she added.

US' Pompeo congratulates Turkey on Republic Day

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday congratulated the Turkish people on the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

"A robust partnership between our two governments is crucial to the security and well-being of all our citizens and strengthens important shared objectives including freedom, prosperity, stability, and rule of law," Pompeo said in a statement.

"As you mark this anniversary, we reaffirm the ties between our two countries, and look forward to expanding collaborative efforts in the future based on our shared interests and the strong ties of our past," the statement read.

The official proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the republic's founder, took place Oct. 29, 1923, when the name of the nation and its status as a republic were declared.

A vote then took place in the Grand National Assembly and Ataturk, a revolutionary statesman, was elected first president of the Republic of Turkey by a unanimous vote.

Since then, Turkey celebrates Republic Day every Oct. 29.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, senior government and military officials and opposition leaders laid a wreath at Anitkabir, Ataturk's mausoleum in Ankara.

US' Pompeo congratulates Iraq's new FM

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Iraq's newly appointed foreign minister via telephone Thursday.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo congratulated Mohammed Ali al-Hakim and said "he looked forward to working closely with him to help his government deliver stability, security, and prosperity for all Iraqis and to continue to improve Iraq’s relations with the United States and Iraq’s neighbors in the broader region."

As a result of elections in early October, Barham Salih was inaugurated as Iraq’s president, Adil Abdul-Mahdi became prime minister and al-Hakim is the country’s foreign minister.