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Saudi Arabia probing Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: Donald Trump

17 October 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday arrived in Ankara from Riyadh for talks with the Turkish leadership saying Saudi Arabia had promised a full investigation into the case.

Saudi Arabia has been closely linked to the United States for more than a half century as a critical oil supplier, with relations warming under Trump as the USA administration aggressively confronts the kingdom's regional rival Iran.

Pompeo met with Saudi Arabian King Salman and the crown prince in Riyadh on Tuesday.

But some US lawmakers have all but accepted Turkey's version of the events, that a team of Saudi agents arrived in Istanbul and killed Khashoggi when he went to the consulate to pick up documents he needed to marry his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national who waited in vain for Khashoggi to emerge from the consulate.

Trump has threatened "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, although he has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia.

Although the King Salman recently called and thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for accepting the formation of joint Turkish-Saudi group to investigate the incident, Saudi Arabia should help Turkish police and prosecutors in their investigation of the Saudi Consulate as well as the residence of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul. Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia of not cooperating fully with efforts to determine what happened to Khashoggi.

Richard Durbin of IL, said on social media Monday afternoon: "Since Saudi arms are being used to ravage Yemen and they are apparently complicit in the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, I can not support President Trump's proposed arms sale". The secretary of state noted that the Saudi leaders, while denying knowledge of anything that occurred inside the consulate, had committed to accountability "including for Saudi Arabia's senior leaders or senior officials".

Mr. Trump said he hoped the Saudis' own investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance would be concluded in "less than a week".

Turkish media report that a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" confronted the Washington Post writer at the embassy and his screams could be heard throughout the building.

"Here we go again with you're guilty until proven innocent", the president told AP in an interview on Tuesday evening, when asked about the widespread condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The US resident and critic of the Saudi government was last seen entering the consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

The case has provoked an worldwide outcry against Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, with more media and business executives pulling out of a planned investment conference there this month.

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. "I think we have to find out what happened first".

Still, Saudi Arabia responded harshly, saying it would retaliate and escalate the situation if it suffered any consequences from the Khashoggi case. Mr. Trump said, "so far it's just the rumor of a report coming out".

There have also been sharp words targeting Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MbS, from U.S. senators on both the Republican and Democratic sides, amid calls for Congress to halt United States arms sales to the kingdom. "Nobody's seen it yet, so we do want to see it. we're going to be seeing it very soon".

Saudi Arabia probing Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: Donald Trump