Pompeo holds crisis talks in Riyadh on missing journalist

Mike Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Ankara Turkey

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday held talks with the Turkish leadership in Ankara over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as Riyadh faced new claims he was killed inside its Istanbul consulate.

An audio recording has emerged of the alleged torture and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Sky sources. "This guy's gotta go".

The South Carolina Republican said bin Salman "can never be a world leader on the world stage".

"Records show that two private jets chartered by a Saudi company with close ties to the Saudi crown prince and Interior Ministry arrived and left Istanbul on the day of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance", the story added. Saudi officials say Khashoggi left the building unharmed, but have provided no evidence for the claim.

The royal family of Saudi Arabia has absolute rule over the kingdom, controls every investigation and has a tight grip on the media.

Durbin stopped short of saying the USA ought to stop arms sales to Riyadh, but he was willing to accept if Riyadh halted them in retaliation - so long as the US sends a strong signal that Saudi Arabia's alleged involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance would be unacceptable.

'We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response'.

Before Monday Trump had focused less on possible explanations for Khashoggi's likely demise than on possible punishment if the Saudis were found culpable. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

Pompeo came to Ankara fresh from talks in Riyadh where he held a 20-minute meeting with King Salman and a far longer meeting with Prince Mohammed, where the pair shook hands and smiled. Following the nine-hour search, it has now been announced that the Saudi consul's residence will also be investigated by this same team.

"The president is willingly and knowingly doing the counter messaging for the Saudi kingdom".

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Earlier in the day, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the "inviolability or immunity" of people or premises granted under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations "should be waived immediately". Under the Vienna convention, diplomatic missions are considered foreign soil.

President Donald Trump on Monday talked to the Saudi King, during which the latter flatly denied having any knowledge of the missing journalist.

Turkey has wanted to search the consulate for days.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters the investigation "was looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over".

Interviewed by state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu refused to be drawn into commenting on what may have happened inside the consulate.

The Kingdom is attempting to distance Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the murder by saying it was "unintentional"-the result of a "botched operation" by rogue Saudi agents".

What has Prince Mohammed said?

"We are strong and old allies".

The Washington Post has previously cited unnamed USA and Turkish officials pointing to audio and video recordings that supposedly prove Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and was then dismembered.

A Saudi contribution of $100 million to USA -backed stabilization efforts in Syria arrived in American accounts Tuesday, just as State Mike Pompeo touched down in Riyadh to discuss the missing Saudi journalist, an anonymous US official told The New York Times.

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