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US Says Saudis Deny Killing Writer But Back Probe in Top-level Visit

RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia promised to make sure a thorough probe and accountability over a lacking Saudi journalist however stood through denials the dominion killed him, US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, as he paid a supportive visit to the below-hearth best friend.

President Donald Trump dispatched Pompeo on an pressing venture to Riyadh to defuse a crisis over Jamal Khashoggi, an insider became critic of the conservative monarchy who turned into final seen on October 2 while he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to type out marriage paperwork.

After a complete day of talks, a declaration from Pompeo and a tweet by Trump stated that the Saudi leadership "strongly denied understanding of what happened" within the consulate, with out outright rejecting that an incident passed off.

officials in Turkey, in which Pompeo heads on Wednesday, say that the Saudis killed Khashoggi within the consulate. The Saudis earlier insisted, with out proof, that Khashoggi left freely whilst later reportedly hinted that rogue factors may be responsible -- a theory that Trump has mused approximately aloud.

The mysterious occasions round Khashoggi, a onetime Saudi insider grew to become critic who lived within the u.s. and contributed to The Washington submit, have badly dented the worldwide image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who until recently turned into hailed inside the West as a reformist saviour.

The 33-year-old heir apparent spoke to Pompeo over an nighttime-long dinner all through which Trump referred to as for and acquired assurances that the Saudis might "rapidly expand" an investigation.

"My evaluation from these conferences is that there may be critical commitment to decide all the data and make sure duty, which include accountability for Saudi Arabia s senior leaders or senior officials," Pompeo said in a declaration.

The crown prince "pledged that the work of the Saudi public prosecutor will produce a complete and whole conclusion with complete transparency for the arena to peer," Pompeo introduced.

Trump earlier threatened "extreme punishment" if it is proven that Khashoggi changed into killed in the consulate. however he has ruled out slicing income people weapons, of which Saudi Arabia is the biggest foreign customer.

Pompeo said he turned into "direct and candid" with the Saudi leaders. however there was no palpable anxiety, with Pompeo full of smiles and no longer publicly citing any counter-measures if Khashoggi was observed to be harmed.

"we're robust and vintage allies. we are facing our challenges together," the crown prince told Pompeo within the palace decked out with implementing chandeliers and gold-plated fixtures, to which Pompeo stated, "honestly."

Saudi Arabia has been closely connected to the united states for greater than a half century as a essential oil dealer, with family members warming under Trump as the united states management aggressively confronts the kingdom s regional rival Iran.

simply as Pompeo became visiting Riyadh, america Treasury department slapped fresh sanctions on Iran, punishing a paramilitary organization and a network of groups accused of financing it.

however the Saudis have faced severe criticism over the Khashoggi incident, which comes just after US senators nearly succeeded in reducing off assist for Riyadh s air campaign in opposition to rebels in Yemen, which a UN report says has killed thousands of civilians.

There have also been sharp phrases targeting Mohammed bin Salman, recognized by way of his initials MbS, from US senators on both the Republican and Democratic sides, amid requires Congress to halt US arms income to the dominion.

Saudi Arabia warned before Pompeo s visit that the leading oil exporter can retaliate, with an reliable quoted in country media caution that the dominion "performs an powerful and critical role in the international economic system" and can "reply to any motion with a bigger one".

- Turks step up probe -

Turkish authorities have stepped up their investigation into Khashoggi s disappearance, with police looking the Saudi consulate for eight hours into Tuesday morning, taking a sample of the lawn soil.

On Tuesday, Turkish media said that Saudi Arabia s consul to Istanbul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, had back to Riyadh as Turkish authorities prepare to search his house.

The UN human rights leader known as Tuesday for the lifting of the immunity of officers who might be involved in Khashoggi s disappearance.

due to the seriousness of the case, the immunity normally accorded to diplomats "must be waived at once", Michelle Bachelet said.

Britain, France and Germany have additionally launched a rare joint assertion saying they had been treating Khashoggi s disappearance "with the utmost seriousness" and calling for a "credible research".

the debate has no longer only afflicted the Saudis  conventional Western allies, who're key fingers suppliers to the kingdom, but undermined efforts with the aid of Mohammed bin Salman to give himself as a modernising ruler.

An funding convention visible as a platform for the crown prince and dubbed the "Davos within the wasteland", scheduled to take location in Riyadh next week, has been hit by means of a string of prominent cancellations.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Ford chairman bill Ford and Larry Fink, the pinnacle of investment massive BlackRock, were most of the modern-day business barons to cancel plans to wait.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he nonetheless plans to wait however could take "into consideration" any new facts.

the controversy additionally threw into doubt a $400 million deal the Saudi Public investment Fund negotiated with Hollywood s most effective skills corporation as part of the crown prince s pressure for a foothold inside the enjoyment enterprise.


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