Saudi king engages with Turkey, US to de-escalate Khashoggi crisis

Lawrence Kim
October 16, 2018

Turkish officials have reportedly shared with Washington contents of video and audio recordings that allegedly contain evidence supporting claims that Khashoggi was murdered by the Saudi government.

Turkish and Saudi authorities have now been told to launch a "credible investigation" into Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

It comes a day after Mr. Erdogan spoke about Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Trump was sending Pompeo to Riyadh because "determining what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is something of great importance to the president".

The New York Times, citing a person familiar with the Saudi plans, reported that Prince Mohammed bin Salman had approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi and Turkish investigators have been seen entering the Saudi consulate where Mr Khashoggi was last seen.

"That meeting ....is about terrorists' financing and how to stop it - it's a very important meeting", Kudlow said.

Bahrain's foreign minister called for a boycott of the ride-hailing company Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] after its chief executive officer said he will not attend a business conference in the kingdom's ally Saudi Arabia.

However, he told CBS News on Saturday that the U.S. was investigating the case which he called "really awful and disgusting" and that "there will be severe punishment".

The search came almost two weeks after Khashoggi, a Saudi critic, vanished after entering the building.

"The denial was very, very strong", Trump told reporters.

Last year, Saudi Arabia launched the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference, an event attended by businesses and government leaders around the world to discuss trends in the global economy.

Trump said on Monday he had spent about 20 minutes on the phone with King Salman, who denied having any information about what had happened to Khashoggi.

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations", said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Shortly after the cleaning crew entered the Saudi consulate, a team of investigators arrived in an unmarked police auto to begin an inspection of the building a full 13 days after Khashoggi entered to obtain marriage documents and never reemerged. Two leading Republican senators said Congress stands ready to act, including a possible halt of military sales, if President Donald Trump doesn't.

Until now, Riyadh has not allowed Turkish investigators to search the consulate - officially Saudi territory - with reports both sides were at odds over the conditions.

King Salman ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case.

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Saudi Arabia, in turn, threatened to retaliate.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still scheduled to attend the October 23 Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News.

Other companies and high-profile businessmen have pulled out of the three-day conference known as "Davos in the desert", which is scheduled to begin on October 23 in Riyadh.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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