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Jamal Khashoggi: US to give Saudi Arabia 'few more days' to investigate disappearance before responding

Chris Stevenson
Thursday 18 October 2018 17:32 BST
Mike Pompeo: the Saudis should be provided “a few more days” to complete their investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

The US will give Saudi Arabia a “few more days” to investigate the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

Having briefed Donald Trump in a morning meeting, Mr Pompeo said he had recommended that the president give extra time before responding to the growing crisis.

“I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days ... so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts,” Mr Pompeo said.

Mr Khashoggi is feared dead after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago on 2 October. Turkish officials have claimed to have audio and video evidence that Mr Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in any harm that may have come to the Saudi journalist, who visited the diplomatic compound to deal with documents relating to his upcoming wedding.

Mr Trump tweeted following the meeting with Mr Pomepo that he is "waiting for the results of the investigation" being carried out jointly between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Mr Pompeo told reporters that he made clear to the Saudis during his visit to Riyadh earlier this week that the US “take this matter with respect to Mr. Khashoggi very seriously.”

Mr Trump and his administration have faced criticism over their response to the disappearance, with members of Congress pushing for a robust response. Mr Trump has said that he does not want to put a strategic and economic partnership at risk, inclusing major arms deals between the two nations.

“I think it's important for us all to remember to, we have a long - since 1932 - a long strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Mr Pompeo said after his meeting with the president.

“They made clear to me that they too understand the serious nature of the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi. They also assured me that they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi and that they will do so in a timely fashion,” Pompeo added.

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Turkish investigators left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early on Thursday after searching the building and consular vehicles, a Reuters witness said. They used bright lights to illuminate the garden. Earlier, they spent nearly nine hours in the Saudi consul's residence along with Saudi investigators.

The Turkish search, which used a drone, included the roof and garage.

Reuters contributed to this report

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