U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met briefly with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Tuesday, and had a longer meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to discuss the mystery on the whereabouts of reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
Pompeo arrived in Riyadh earlier Tuesday to meet with the Saudi leaders, two weeks after Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo “thanked the King for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent and timely investigation” of the Khashoggi case.”
Nauert described the meetings as “direct and candid.”
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Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post contributor, disappeared from the Saudi consulate after visiting to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding. Reports since say he may have been killed there, perhaps for writing editorials that challenged the royal family.
Since the disappearance, relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated. A war of words erupted over the weekend between President Donald Trump and Saudi leadership, leading at one point to threats of U.S. sanctions — and in response, sky high oil prices.
Trump sent Pompeo to Riyadh to “get to the bottom of it.”
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Turkish investigators did a forensic examination of the Saudi consulate Tuesday.
“My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting over them,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
Turkey will be Pompeo’s next stop.