Trump Sends Pompeo to Saudi Arabia as King Denies Involvement in Columnist’s Disappearance

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
October 15, 2018World News
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President Donald Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 15 after speaking with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who told the president he has no knowledge of what happened to missing columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I asked the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to immediately get on a plane, go to Saudi Arabia, go to other places if necessary, which he probably will, with regards to this—go to Turkey if necessary. The King told me Turkey and Saudi Arabia are working hand in hand very closely on getting to the bottom of what happened so we’ll see what happened,” Trump said outside the White House on Oct. 15.

“We are going to leave nothing uncovered,” Trump added. “With that being said, the king firmly denies any knowledge of it. He didn’t really know, maybe—I don’t want to get into his mind, but it sounded to me like maybe it could have been rogue killers, who knows?”

King Salman ordered an internal probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance on Oct. 15. Khashoggi was allegedly last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Khashoggi is a U.S. resident and a columnist for The Washington Post. Several media outlets have cited anonymous sources claiming that Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate. The Epoch Times could not independently verify the claims.

The only named source for some of the claims is Khaled Saffuri, an associate of Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is serving a 17-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison for plotting to kill a Saudi crown prince.

Last week, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to cooperate to find out what happened to Khashoggi.

“The King has ordered the Public Prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the info from the joint team in Istanbul,” a Saudi official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said.

The official said that the Saudi public prosecutor “was instructed to work quickly.”

Trump had previously urged “a credible investigation” of the disappearance and threatened that “severe punishment” would befall those responsible.

Western leaders echoed the president in calls for a probe. Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Oct. 15 that Britain expects “a complete and detailed response” to questions over Khashoggi’s disappearance. Trump told reporters that the king is clear on the importance of an investigation.

“The world is watching, the world is talking. This is very important to get to the bottom of it. I think he understands that very well,” Trump said.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, threatened to retaliate against any economic sanctions “with great action.”

Saudi Arabia’s importance to Trump’s foreign policy agenda became apparent after the president chose the oil-rich nation for his first foreign state visit after taking office. The country is undergoing an unprecedented wave of reforms led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Despite the lack of evidence surrounding Khashoggi’s disappearance, prominent corporate leaders boycotted a marquee investment conference in Saudi Arabia. Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink pulled out of the summit, known as “Davos in the Desert.”Blackstone and BlackRock planned to open offices in Riyadh.

Khashoggi moved to the United States last year reportedly fearing retribution for his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed, who carried out a large-scale anti-corruption campaign which included the arrests of dozens of royal family members and top officials.

Khashoggi once interviewed Osama bin Laden, the terrorist responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 Americans.

The Saudi stock market had tumbled 7.2 percent over the previous two trading days but rebounded 2 percent on Oct. 15. The Saudi riyal fell to its lowest in two years and its international bond prices slipped over fears that foreign investment inflows could shrink amid international pressure.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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