Friday, 18 October, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Turkey for Khashoggi talks

Jamal Khashoggi Modal Trigger Jamal Khashoggi Getty Images
Patty Aguilar | 19 October, 2018, 21:50

Khashoggi had frequently criticized the Saudi government and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudis are long-standing allies of the United States, particularly in combating terrorist networks, but analysts said the credibility of the U.S. -Saudi relationship depends on candor and accountability.

Once close to the Saudi royal family, Khashoggi had grown increasingly critical of human rights abuses in the kingdom and was living in self-imposed exile in Washington, D.C.

Confirming that the tape has been requested, Mr Trump added: "I'm not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does".

The president said he would get a "full report" from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the diplomat's return from meetings with Saudi and Turkish leaders, allowing him to assess what really happened.

He said: "You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that's happening in Iran and other places". Trump has speculated without providing evidence that "rogue killers" could be responsible.

What is reported to be on the recording?

Khashoggi's suspected murder and Saudi Arabia's lackluster efforts to solve the case has negatively affected Riyadh's economic reform drive, chasing away investors and foreign officials alike.

But this is the first time Turkish media have claimed to have heard the recording.

Consul Otaibi left Istanbul on Tuesday for Riyadh ahead of a planned search of his residence as part of the official Turkish investigation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Turkey for Khashoggi talks
The recording also revealed Mr Khashoggi had fingers cut off and was told to "shut up" or face being killed, Yeni Safak reported. Confirming that the tape has been requested, Mr Trump added: "I'm not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does".

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For almost two years, through an ongoing crisis with Qatar and worldwide outrage over civilian casualties in the Saudi-led campaign against Yemeni rebels, the prince has managed to keep Washington's confidence. "You're going to get me in trouble".

How is Turkey's investigation progressing?

Khashoggi went to the consulate on October 2 to get documents for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman while his fiancee waited outside.

The team included prosecutors and forensics experts in white overalls. The US secretary of state had talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, too.

President Donald Trump compared people who blamed Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's disappearance to those who had accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. When asked if he had learned any details about Khashoggi's disappearance, Pompeo told reporters that "I don't want to talk about any of the facts; they didn't want to, either, in that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way".

A New York Times report published Thursday suggests that the Saudi regime is looking to pin blame for the apparent torture and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on a senior intelligence official.

USA media outlets have reported that Riyadh, despite its earlier denials of involvement, will acknowledge he was killed in a botched interrogation.

The recording also revealed Mr Khashoggi had fingers cut off and was told to "shut up" or face being killed, Yeni Safak reported.

Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has become the latest high-profile figure to withdraw from a major Saudi investment conference next week following Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

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