Consequences over Khashoggi death will have to be 'very severe'

Geraldine Edwards
October 19, 2018

"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.

President Emmanuel Macron said France has suspended political visits to Saudi Arabia in coordination with Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as he awaits "clarifications" on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said here on Thursday that Saudi Arabia shall be given "a few more days" on its probe of the disappearance of a journalist. His warning came as the administration toughened its response to a disappearance that has sparked global outrage.

Turkey has not shared with the USA government or key European allies graphic audio or video evidence it allegedly collected on US -based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's visit to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, seven USA and European security officials told Reuters.

Turkish police are searching a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul and a city near the Sea of Marmara for remains of a Saudi dissident journalist who disappeared two weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate, two Turkish officials said.

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Turkish authorities say he was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi officials that flew into Istanbul and left the day Khashoggi arrived at the consulate.

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.

Officials also said his body may have been cut into pieces after a Saudi forensics expert instructed others to put headphones in and listen to music.

'Trump's getting some criticism for his bold soft-on-murder stance, ' Colbert said on Thursday in his monologue for the CBS Late Show, referring to the president's statement on Khashoggi. "Certainly the Russians and Chinese would like to take advantage of any conflict between Washington and Riyadh".

"I'm not giving cover at all", Trump said.

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Khashoggi has been in the United States for a year and has written for the Washington 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.

In his comments to reporters, Pompeo said he also stressed the "longstanding strategic relationship" between the USA and Saudi Arabia. The Turkish government alleges he was murdered, a charge the Saudis have vehemently denied.

By casting doubt on whether the United States will respond at all, Pompeo reflected the internal struggle among Trump and his national security advisers on what to do should the Saudi leadership be blamed for what happened to Khashoggi. The prince is next in line for the throne held by his aged father King Salman.

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