Pompeo meets Saudi royal family to discuss Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance
- Author: Eleanor Harrison Oct 17, 2018,
Oct 17, 2018, 17:14
Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government and in particular Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2 to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.
Asked point blank if Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, was alive or dead, Pompeo said: "I don't want to talk about any of the facts".
He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman, and he said both deny any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
"These shocking and gruesome details would explain why USA intelligence sources told CNN and other American media outlets that they were "utterly shocked" at what the content of the recordings presented to them by the Turkish authorities".
Even more remarkable, Trump seemed to be parroting what may soon be the official Saudi line.
The newspaper alleged that one of the Saudis torturing Khashoggi replied: "Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia".
Turkish media on Wednesday expected Pompeo to bring answers with him from Riyadh, his previous stop, where he met with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.
"He's the 33-year-old prince who jumped over people".
The Saudi heir apparent wields considerable power in the kingdom and is being held responsible by many outside for whatever happened to Mr Khashoggi.
Police searched the Saudi consulate and said they found evidence Mr Khashoggi died there, according to a senior Turkish official.
The investigators, who searched the premises for 8 hours into Tuesday morning, took samples with them, including soil from the consulate garden, one official at the scene said.
"He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter", Trump said on Twitter. Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump for using the term "rogue killers".
Google has become the latest tech company to pull out of a high-profile conference in Saudi Arabia commonly referred to as Davos in the Desert.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump ally in Congress, called bin Salman a "wrecking ball" and "toxic" figure.
The recent, highly charged exchange of words between Washington and Riyadh now appears to have given way to a mutual search for the least bad explanation. But he also mused aloud that "rogue" elements carried out the operation and has ruled out cutting sales of USA weapons, of which Saudi Arabia is the largest foreign buyer.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva amid news reports that details of Khashoggi's death may surface soon, indicating that it was an accident, United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) spokesperson Rupert Colville said potentially serious crimes had been committed and the perpetrators should be held accountable.
The Saudi consul Mohammed al-Otaibi left Istanbul for Riyadh on a scheduled Saudia flight on Tuesday afternoon, with Ankara insisting he had not been expelled and left by his own choice.
Hence the urgent dispatching of the U.S. secretary of state for talks with the Saudi leadership.
"And sometimes it's important to take a public stand". However, in a contrary scenario, the kingdom, highly criticized due for the actions of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will remain as a rogue state in the global system.
What is the state of investigation?
Police put up barricades around the consul's official residence Tuesday night.
"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be difficult" the Turkish official said.
"These shocking and gruesome details would explain why US intelligence sources told CNN and other American media outlets that they were "utterly shocked" at what the content of the recordings presented to them by the Turkish authorities", Elshayyal observed. Leaked surveillance video show diplomatic cars traveled to the consul general's home shortly after Khashoggi went into the consulate.
Forensic vehicles also took away a metal door from the garden.
Pompeo arrived in Ankara after talks with Saudi officials in Riyadh.
There are allegations in Turkish media that his body was dismembered in the building. At issue will be to what extent the West believes responsibility for Khashoggi lies with the powerful young ruler.