Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Trump Sends Pompeo to Riyadh Over Khashoggi

Trump Sends Pompeo to Riyadh Over Khashoggi Trump Sends Pompeo to Riyadh Over Khashoggi
Nellie Chapman | 17 October, 2018, 19:44

The residence of the Saudi consul is cordoned off by Turkish police in Istanbul, on October 16, 2018, the day after Turkish police and prosecutors searched the Saudi embassy after Riyadh gave the green-light amid global uproar over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi since October 2.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to meet Saudi King Salman amid growing controversy over the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Many members of the US Congress, which has long had a testy relationship with ally Saudi Arabia, have issued strong criticism of the kingdom since Khashoggi's disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. The Washington Post columnist was not observed leaving the building, and the U.S. media have cited anonymous Turkish sources to report that he was murdered and dismembered inside.

Turkish investigators began to search the consulate in Istanbul on Monday evening, but earlier in the day a cleaning crew was seen entering the consulate, according to The Washington Post.

The Saudis have strongly denied the allegations and Mr Trump has speculated, without providing evidence, that "rogue killers" could have be responsible for the attack.

"They promised accountability for each of those persons whom they determine as a result of their investigation deserves accountability", he said.

Mr. Trump spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Monday morning in a 20-minute phone call.

Speaking to reporters, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkish police would be "searching the Saudi consul-general's official residence and its cars today".

President Donald Trump on Monday talked to the Saudi King, during which the latter flatly denied having any knowledge of the missing journalist.

Trump called Pompeo on Sunday night and asked him to have face-to-face meetings with the Saudi leaders, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has suggested parts of the consulate had been repainted since the disappearance of the journalist, who was a critic of the Saudi regime. Trump said he didn't "want to get into (Salman's) mind", but told reporters: "it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers".

According to Yeni Safak, Saudi Arabia's consul to Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, can be heard on one tape saying during Khashoggi's torture: "Do this outside".

Trump tweeted that the Saudi Crown Prince "told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter". Trump has resisted any action, pointing to huge U.S. weapons deals pending with Saudi Arabia and saying that sanctions could end up hurting the American economy.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents but Riyadh insisted earlier that he left the consulate unharmed. He's going to probably over the next couple of hours - sometime prior to your show, but he will be getting back to me.

Despite concerns about Saudi human rights, Trump still says he is unwilling to pull out of arms sales accords with Riyadh.

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.