Pompeo meets Saudi king, prince on writer's disappearance

Elias Hubbard
October 19, 2018

Turkish investigations into the presumed murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul resumed on Tuesday, with investigators due to enter the consul-general's house nearby.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

Members of Mr Khashoggi's family have called for "an independent and impartial international" investigation.

The US state department said Prince Mohammed agreed there must be a thorough and transparent investigation into the journalist's disappearance. But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the global reputation of the Saudi Crown Prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.

Meanwhile, Turkish forensic investigators overnight searched the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi disappeared October 2. Noticeably absent from discussions was the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, about whom Khashoggi wrote critically for the Washington Post and whose rise to power prompted the writer to go into a self-imposed exile in the US. She later stated that she did not trust the information and did not know about Khashoggi's whereabouts.

Some 10 Turkish investigators left the consulate before 5 a.m., and a Turkish prosecutor departed around 1-1/2 hours later, followed shortly after by a Saudi team, witnesses said. "We got into the exclusively protected rooms with high-level security where they have their cryptosystems, also the rooms which are secured against any audio recordings", the source said.

"We are strong and old allies", the prince told Pompeo. "I was on the floor every time defending Saudi Arabia because they area good ally".

Speaking on Tuesday after Turkish police entered the consulate for the first time and searched the premises for nine hours, Erdogan also told reporters that they were looking into toxic materials at the mission.

Earlier, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Walid Bin Abdul Karim El Khereiji, was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Turkish forensic investigators searched the consulate overnight. That convention covers diplomatic immunity, as well as the idea that embassies and consulates sit on foreign soil in their host countries.

They said Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that Mr Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong and the intention had been only to abduct him from Turkey.

USA media reported on Monday that the oil-rich kingdom is considering an admission that Khashoggi died after an interrogation that went wrong during an intended abduction.

"He had this guy murdered in the consulate in Turkey". Permission apparently came after a late Sunday night call between King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Saudi officials have not answered repeated requests for comment over recent days from the AP.

U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo will visit Saudi Arabia and Turkey because of the situation with the journalist Jamal Hackage.

When Mohammed Bin Salman [MBS] was appointed Saudi Arabia Crown Prince about 18 months ago by Saudi Arabia monarch, King Salman.

Remarks Khashoggi made past year at the Washington Institute think tank about the Saudi government's relationship with the Trump administration appear behind the veteran journalist's fallout with the royal court. The U.S. president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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