Pompeo heard Turkey's recording of Khashoggi death in Saudi consulate

Saul Bowman
October 19, 2018

He said, "Each of those meetings, I stressed the importance of them conducting a complete investigation of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and they made a commitment, they said they would do that".

Trump has previously warned that the kingdom will face "severe punishment" from the USA if it is determined that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi's death.

Pompeo said the Saudis are committed to a "thorough, transparent and timely" investigation.

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

Turkish authorities have told reporters that Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by a state-sponsored hit squad, and other media outlets have reported subsequently that members of the team sent to Turkey had close ties to Saudi government.

Reports earlier this week had suggested the Saudis were preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi had died in a botched interrogation.

In response to another question on Saudi Arabia, she said: "Canada's position on human rights in general, very much including in Saudi Arabia, is clear and firm".

Pompeo declined to comment on what the United States believes might have happened to Khashoggi but made clear Washington takes the situation "very seriously".

He said he told his foreign counterparts that "we take this matter very seriously", and said they reciprocated that sentiment.

"This has touched a nerve because it is Saudi Arabia, it is the United States", and there are fears he has been killed, Mahoney said.

But Pompeo, "who smiled broadly as he greeted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appeared less intent on determining the truth than in helping the de facto Saudi ruler escape from the crisis he triggered", said the Post.

Although Pompeo suggested the USA could wait longer for results, an official familiar with his meetings in Riyadh and Ankara said the secretary had been blunt about the need to wrap the probe up quickly.

Trump previously said Saudi Arabia would face "severe punishment" if evidence points to Saudi leaders having been involved in harming Khashoggi, but his administration has softened its stance in recent days, touting the Saudi royals' repeated denials and even casting doubt on reported Turkish audio and video evidence.

Pompeo also stressed the importance of the strategic relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia as the investigation moves forward.

Pro-government media in Turkey have published claims - said to come from sources working on the case - that detail how Mr Khashoggi was allegedly beaten, had his fingers cut off and was dismembered by a medical expert. The prince is next in line for the throne held by his aged father King Salman.

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