Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Saudis preparing to acknowledge journalist died after interrogation 'went wrong'

Saudi Arabia government pledges ‘greater action’ if US retaliates for Khashoggi disappearance Trump Speaks to Saudi King, Sends Pompeo for Follow-Up
Melody Ballard | 16 October, 2018, 10:49

Turkish officials say Khashoggi, 59, was killed when he entered the consulate and his body was removed from the country by a Saudi hit team that arrived in Turkey the same day.

An appropriate adjustment to U.S. -Saudi relations-one consistent with U.S. interests, broadly and properly conceived-should have been made well before the Khashoggi affair even arose.

October 11: The Washington Post, which Khashoggi writes for, reports the Turkish government told US officials that it had audio and video recordings proving Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

"It's being investigated, it's being looked at very, very strongly", Trump said, after CBS's Lesley Stahl asked whether the Saudis had murdered Khashoggi.

King Salman ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case, a Saudi official said. It remained unclear what evidence they might be able to uncover. As if to drive the point home, a cleaning crew with mops, trash bags and cartons of milk walked in, past journalists waiting outside the consulate on Monday.

Referring to a $110 billion weapons deal previously signed by Riyadh and Washington and noting that Khashoggi was not a United States citizen, Trump told journalists last week that he didn't really want to stop "massive amounts of money" from being poured into the U.S. from Saudi Arabia. With such a lack of clarity, the administration has not ruled out any possible scenario.

"What is the use of discussing an issue that might throw you in a place you don't want to be?" a Saudi citizen, residing in Dubai, told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Mr Trump dispatched his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the kingdom on Monday to find out "first-hand what happened, what they know, what's going on".

"Canada remains very troubled by the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and calls for a through, credible and transparent investigation into the serious allegations about Mr. Kashoggi's disappearance".

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The problem with that is that there's been already a lot of questions about Mohammed bin Salman. He and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, have forged close ties.

Trump last week vowed to uncover the truth about what happened to Khashoggi and promised "severe punishment" for those responsible.

October 9: Cengiz writes an op-ed in Washington Post, saying her husband-to-be had applied for US citizenship and that his reason for visiting Turkey was to take care of all necessary paperwork for them to marry before he returned to Washington.

Few details have emerged over how the joint working group will function, sparking suspicion that Saudi Arabia might be trying to coax Turkey with certain concessions at a time of the latter's economic problems.

The Washington Times said Trump, just hours earlier, had reported talking with the Saudi king, who, he said, denied his government's involvement.

The person said Prince Mohammed had approved an interrogation or rendition of Mr. Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. Both reports cited anonymous people said to be familiar with the Saudi plans.

Salman emphasised the importance of the Turkey-Saudi relationship and said no-one should be able to "undermine the strength of this relationship", it added.

"I heard that report, but nobody knows if it's an official report", Trump told reporters, without elaborating.

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