Trump says Saudi prince vows 'full' probe into missing journalist

Daniel Fowler
October 17, 2018

Some materials at the Saudi consulate have been painted over, Turkey's President Tayyip Erdoğan said on October 16.

The promised money was put into USA accounts the same day that Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia for meetings with the Saudi king and crown prince over the ongoing investigation of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi - an issue that has heightened tensions between the longtime allies.

NBC News reported that the Saudis are discussing issuing an explanation that would admit that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate while giving bin Salman so-called plausible deniability by saying he neither ordered the murder nor knew about it.

Soon after, Pompeo arrived at a royal palace, where he thanked King Salman "for accepting my visit on behalf of President Trump" before the two went into a closed-door meeting.

But the Crown Prince "pledged that the work of the Saudi public prosecutor will produce a full and complete conclusion with full transparency for the world to see", Pompeo said.

The New York Times and CNN, quoting unnamed sources, reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that Mr Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong.

Pompeo's faith in the Saudi authorities to cooperate with the investigation into Khashoggi's fate was echoed by Trump, who said in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday night that Riyadh had again denied it had anything to do with Khashoggi's disappearance and remained "innocent until proven guilty".

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, Washington Post columnist and leading critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago to get marriage documents.

Saudi Arabia has responded to Western statements by saying it would retaliate against any pressure or economic sanctions "with greater action", and Arab allies rallied to support it.

Police searched the Saudi consulate and said they found evidence Mr Khashoggi died there, according to a senior Turkish official.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 16, 2018.

The Saudi consul left Turkey for the Saudi capital Riyadh Tuesday just hours after Turkish officials said they wanted to search his residence and the consulate's fleet of vehicles, Ankara's Foreign Ministry said.

Erdogan told journalists Tuesday that police sought traces of "toxic" materials and suggested parts of the consulate had been recently painted, without elaborating.

In an interview that aired Sunday night, Trump threatened "severe punishment" if it turned out the Saudis did kill Khashoggi, who had been living in the United States in self-imposed exile.

"I think we have to find out what happened first", Trump said.

One source cautioned that the report was still being prepared and could change, CNN said.

After Utaybi told the interrogators to "do it somewhere else outside or I will be in trouble", he was told to "shut up if you want to live when you are back in Arabia".

"Pompeo's mission in travelling to Riyadh and then Turkey is to cover up Saudi brutality and scandal by making up stories, and this very project is an excuse to keep milking the Saudis (for weapons' contracts)", added the Javan newspaper, considered close to the Revolutionary Guards.

"I know what I'm going to do".

Freeland, meanwhile, said Canada isn't backing down on defending human rights in its own dispute with Saudi Arabia.

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