Remarks to the Press

Remarks
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Senate Subway Stakeout Area
Washington, DC
November 28, 2018


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: (Inaudible.) Senators were very frustrated. Normally, in your past role as CIA director, you would be here briefing these senators on an issue this sensitive. Why isn’t the CIA director herself here today?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I was asked to be here, and I’m here.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

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: Mr. Secretary, is he responsible --

MS NAUERT: Thank you. We’ve got to go.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma’am.

QUESTION: Are there any scheduled high-level meetings with North Korea? Are there any scheduled high-level meetings with North Korea?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I don’t have anything to add on the sequence of events in North Korea. But I’m very hopeful we will have senior-level meetings before too long.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: Is MBS responsible?

QUESTION: You say you’re on the precipice of a deal.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I didn’t say deal.

QUESTION: Or a – a peace agreement.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. Of the first opportunity for them to get together, yes.

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.

MS NAUERT: Thank you. Thank you, everybody.