Pompeo: Saudis promise nobody exempt in missing journalist probe

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo center walks to a plane before leaving Riyadh Saudi Arabia Wednesday Oct. 17 2018. (Leah Millis  Pool

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo center walks to a plane before leaving Riyadh Saudi Arabia Wednesday Oct. 17 2018. (Leah Millis Pool

The U.S. administration regards Saudi Arabia's denial of any involvement of Khashoggi's disappearance as untenable, and Trump and his aides are increasingly convinced that the Washington Post columnist died after entering the Saudi consulate to pick up a document for his wedding, said three U.S. officials who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held separate meetings with Turkey's president and foreign minister for around 40 minutes each on Wednesday in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

The high-level Turkish official told the AP that police found "certain evidence" of Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate, without elaborating.

The search of the consulate continued into the early hours of Tuesday.

Although the King Salman recently called and thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for accepting the formation of joint Turkish-Saudi group to investigate the incident, Saudi Arabia should help Turkish police and prosecutors in their investigation of the Saudi Consulate as well as the residence of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that would admit Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed as the result of an interrogation that went wrong, CNN reported yesterday, citing two unnamed sources.

However, with the arrival of US President Donald's Trump's top diplomat in Riyadh, the official US narrative has become one of wait and see.

The case has put Saudi Arabia under pressure from close allies.

Saudi Arabia's consul general to Istanbul, Mohammed al Otaibi, reportedly left Turkey for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday on a scheduled flight.

A section on the glitzy event website with pictures of the speakers has now been taken down.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and USA resident who became increasingly critical of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not been seen since he walked into the Istanbul consulate to sort out marriage paperwork on October 2.

The Oval Office interview came not long after Mr. Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman (right) meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Riyadh on October 16, 2018. "Answers will be forthcoming shortly", Trump said in a tweet.

Khashoggi is a Saudi citizen and also a USA resident.

"We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment", he added.

"He's the 33-year-old prince who jumped over people".

Mr. Trump has resisted any action, pointing to huge U.S. weapons deals pending with Saudi Arabia and saying that sanctions could end up hurting the American economy. "But I do think it's a mistake, and it can be frankly a self-serving mistake, to think that a private conversation is always an equally effective substitute to taking a public stand", Freeland said. "He can never be a world leader on the world stage".

In a further sign of disquiet within the US, a leading Republican senator and defender of US-Saudi links, Lindsey Graham, has been highly critical of the Saudi crown prince. This guy's got to go.

Similar campaigns trended on social media in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Erdogan said: "The investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over".

Cavusoglu on Tuesday said no confession from the Saudi side has been made yet regarding the missing journalist. But last week, 22 senators triggered a United States investigation of whether human rights sanctions should be imposed over the disappearance. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

A Turkish forensic works in the Saudi consulate.

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