Mr Pompeo touched down in the Saudi capital on Tuesday morning where he was greeted by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir before meeting King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The former CIA chief spoke with the Saudi leadership behind closed doors.
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He smiled and shook hands with both men, who warmly greeted him just hours after a joint Turkish and Saudi investigative team that included forensics experts finished a search inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate as they looking for evidence of the Washington Post columnist’s alleged killing.
In his meeting with King Salman, Mr Pompeo thanked him for what he called the kingdom’s commitment to a thorough and transparent investigation into the whereabouts of the Saudi writer. He is also scheduled to have dinner with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.
“We are strong and old allies,” the prince told Mr Pompeo as journalists watched. “We face our challenges together – the past, the day of, tomorrow.”
“The secretary and the foreign minister agreed on the importance of a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation,” State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said later about the meeting between Mr Pompeo and Mr Al Jubeir.
US President Donald Trump, who dispatched Mr Pompeo to speak to the monarch over Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance, said on Monday after talking with King Salman that the slaying could have been carried out by “rogue killers”. Mr Trump provided no evidence but that statement.
“The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Mr Trump told reporters on Monday. “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. I mean, who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.”
He had earlier tweeted:
“Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen’.”
Mr Pompeo was in the air when a Turkish forensic team wrapped up its more than nine-hour search of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early on Tuesday morning. He is due to travel to Turkey after his Saudi visit.
Ten technicians in overalls, gloves and covered shoes treated the consulate, where Mr Khashoggi vanished two weeks ago, as a crime scene during their hours-long search. It wasn’t immediately clear what evidence they gathered.
Shortly before authorities began a search of the consul’s residence nearby, Saudi consul Mohammed Al Otaibi left the country on a 2 pm flight, state media reported. Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the consul left the country
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