RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdelaziz told United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Riyadh on Tuesday that his nation was committed to a full and transparent investigation into the disappearance of a Saudi dissident journalist that was last seen entering his country’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul two weeks ago, the US State Department said.
King Salman welcomed Pompeo to the Saudi capital, where the pair discussed bilateral ties and Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post writer whose as yet unresolved disappearance and possible murder at the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 sparked tensions between the Gulf kingdom and its Western allies.
“Today in Riyadh, Sec. Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to discuss regional and bilateral issues,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a tweet. “He also thanks the King for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent and timely investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” she added.
Turkey’s government suspects that Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family who fled his home country in September 2017, was assassinated at the consulate building, something the Saudi regime has denied.
US President Donald Trump has waffled on the issue, suggesting the journalist may have been murdered by rogue killers but falling short of pointing a finger at Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s principal allies in the Middle East.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a powerful figure in Saudi politics, preemptively warned he would retaliate against any punitive measures such as sanctions imposed on his country as the United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, urged both Turkey and Saudi Arabia to publish all known facts about Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Khashoggi was last seen entering his country’s consulate building on Oct. 2 to fill out divorce paperwork while his fiancee waited outside.