Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Saudi considers admitting Khashoggi died in botched op

A joint team of Turkish and Saudi Arabian investigators finally entered the consulate this afternoon after days of wrangling between the nations 'Rogue killers - who knows?': Donald Trump discusses mystery of missing journalist with Saudi Arabia's King Salman
Russell Knight | 17 October, 2018, 11:07

Turkish officials have said they believe a Saudi hit team killed Khashoggi earlier this month after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The intention had been only to abduct him from Turkey, the sources said. The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, will have briefed him on the Turkish evidence that Saudi intelligence agents, including anaesthetists and some carrying hacksaws and other devices, arrived in the country to conduct a violent interrogation meant to permanently silence the crown prince's most persistent and eloquent critic. "The king firmly denied any knowledge of it", Trump said Monday.

To date, Saudi officials have strongly denied any involvement in his disappearance and say that he left the consulate soon after arriving.

The narrative they plan to present, according to the New York Times, is that the Saudi government ordered its operatives to interrogate Mr Khashoggi but that something went wrong and the journalist was accidentally killed.

The president also spoke with the crown prince on Tuesday, who he later tweeted had "totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate" and said an extensive probe into Khashoggi's disappearance was ongoing. As they sat down for their first meeting, the crown prince, in English, told Pompeo, "We are strong and old allies".

Saudi Arabia is reportedly ready to concede that a missing Saudi writer was killed in its consulate in Istanbul during a botched interrogation, CNN reported Monday.

"If any Saudi diplomat wants to go to their country, they can go. We face our challenges together", the crown prince said as he warmly welcomed Pompeo at the palace before sitting down for talks and a subsequent dinner.

Jonathan Fulton, assistant professor of political science at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, said China had grown more serious in its regional arms relationships with Gulf states in recent years, with the potential to serve as a "wedge" as US-Saudi relations frayed.

Trump's comments came after a telephone conversation with King Salman, father of the crown prince, the first such talks since the crisis erupted.

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

The comment by the Turkish official to The Associated Press further intensified the pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi, who vanished October 2 while visiting the consulate to pick up paperwork he need to get married.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was dispatched by Trump to Riyadh over the Khashoggi case.

"He had this guy murdered in the consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it?"

She said Tuesday the "onus is on the Saudi authorities" to reveal what happened, and insisted "no further obstacles" should be placed in the way of a quick, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation.

A Turkish official yesterday claimed the consulate walls have been repainted since the alleged murder and said the Turks don't trust the Saudis not to obfuscate the investigation, reported the Middle Eastern Eye.

Trump said he'd made clear the stakes.

"His denial to me could not have been stronger", Trump said, echoing language he has used to describe Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of meddling in the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House.

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