Mike Pompeo Meets King Salman Over Saudi Journalist’s Disappearance

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King Salman of Saudi Arabia meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. — AFP

RIYADH (AP) — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished two weeks ago during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Pompeo landed in Riyadh on Tuesday morning and was welcomed by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on landing. He didn’t make any remarks to the media.

Soon after, Pompeo arrived at a royal palace, where King Salman greeted him. America’s top diplomat thanked the king “for accepting my visit on behalf of President (Donald) Trump” before going into a closed-door meeting.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said Turkish authorities will search the residence of the top Saudi diplomat in Istanbul over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The official did not say when the search of the consul’s home would take place. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Meanwhile, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged Saudi Arabia and Turkey to “reveal everything they know about the disappearance and possible extrajudicial killing” of Khashoggi.

“Given there seems to be clear evidence that Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards,” Bachelet said.

Turkish officials say they fear Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate. Saudi officials previously have called the allegations “baseless” but reports in US media on Tuesday suggested the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed there. No official, however, has corroborated this claim.

Earlier in the morning, a Turkish forensics team finished a search inside the consulate. Technicians in coveralls, gloves and covered shoes treated the diplomatic mission as a crime scene during their hours-long search. It wasn’t immediately clear what evidence they gathered. Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic posts are technically foreign soil that must be protected and respected by host countries.

President Donald Trump, after speaking with King Salman, had dispatched Pompeo to speak to the monarch of the world’s top oil exporter over Khashoggi’s disappearance. Trump himself said without offering evidence that the slaying could have been carried out by “rogue killers”, offering the US-allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.

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