‘It certainly looks like’ Khashoggi is dead, consequences will be ‘severe’

19 October, 2018, 13:25 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusogl meeting with Mike Pompeo

The Washington Post, whose columnist Jamal Khashoggi was reported to have been killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, has accused the administration of US President Donald Trump of performing a "diplomatic cleanup operation" for Riyadh.

"Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he's dead", Trump told New York Times reporters inside the Oval Office shortly before speaking to the press at Joint Base Andrews. "That's based on everything - intelligence coming from every side".

Still, the State Department said in an email reply to ABC News that Pompeo had not heard the recording. The Saudis have dismissed those reports as baseless but have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi, who was seen on video entering the consulate on October 2 but has not been seen since.

However, Saudi Arabia says reports on Mr Khashoggi's death are "completely false and baseless" and that it is "open to co-operation" to find out what happened.

"That's the message I transmitted to Saudi Arabia's foreign affairs minister", Freeland said in reference to the Khashoggi case.

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Turkish police believe Mr Khashoggi's killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest, next to Istanbul, and near the rural city of Yalova, 90 kilometres (55 miles) away from the Turkish capital, senior officials have said. Riyadh strongly denies the claim. "But we're waiting for the results of about three different investigations, and we should be able to get to the bottom fairly soon", Trump said.

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

"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", he told reporters. He said, "They're an important strategic ally of the United States, and we need to be mindful of that".

According to the reports, the assassination squad included agents tied to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a powerful figure in the Saudi royal family and lynchpin in the trend toward ever-tightening relations with the White House. "He warned the crown prince that the kingdom's position on the public stage was at risk and that he needed to own this and take action", Allen explained, adding that the administration's stance was looking "less and less tenable" given mounting evidence that Khashoggi was murdered in gruesome fashion inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have pulled out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia.

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