Thu, 15 Nov 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has held talks in Saudi Arabia with King Salman over the disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

President Donald Trump dispatched Pompeo to Riyadh after he spoke with the Saudi king about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Khashoggi disappeared while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

Pompeo thanked King Salman for his 'commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance,' the State Department said it a statement.

Pompeo also met Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, before holding talks with the crown prince. 'We are strong and old allies, and we face our challenges together,' Prince Muhammad told Pompeo during the meeting.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police had searched for 'toxic materials' at the Saudi Consulate. Investigators were expected to search the consulate again on October 16.

'Many things are being looked into, including toxic materials and these [materials] being removed by painting them over,' Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on October 16 said in a statement the immunity that diplomatic premises enjoy should be lifted immediately in the Khashoggi case.

'Immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible.'

'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.'

Pompeo will stop in Turkey after his trip to Saudi Arabia.

Trump had said Saudi Arabia would face 'severe punishment' if it was involved in the disappearance and suspected killing of Khashoggi.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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