Turkish police search forest, coastal city for journalist's remains

Turkish police search forest, coastal city for journalist's remains

Turkish officials have said they believe a Saudi hit team that flew into and out of Turkey on October 2 killed and dismembered Jamal Khashoggi, who had written columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"It certainly looks that way to me".

United States president Donald Trump acknowledged that it "certainly looks" as though Khashoggi is dead, and he threatened "very severe" consequences if the Saudis are found to have murdered him.

The Saudis have dismissed the reports but have not provided an explanation as to what happened to the writer. Turkish officials allege he was murdered there. Riyadh denies the allegations.

"I've heard no tape, I've seen no transcript", Pompeo told reporters overnight. The Times reported Thursday that Saudi rulers are weighing a plan to acknowledge the death of the journalist during an interrogation that went awry and to place the blame on a top intelligence official.

"We need accountability" and for that a credible investigation is essential, he said.

Mr Trump has previously vowed to inflict "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it was behind Mr Khashoggi's killing - but also said he is against cancelling military contracts with Riyadh.

"We're all going to get to see the response from Saudi Arabia to this. But we'll see what happens".

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said secretary-general Guterres remains very concerned about Khashoggi's fate and "has repeatedly called for the truth to come out in this situation".




In his brief comments to reporters, Pompeo also stressed the "longstanding strategic relationship" between the USA and Saudi Arabia.

"Behind the scenes, we're told by sources, he told them they needed to hurry".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin abandoned plans to attend an October 23-25 investor conference in Riyadh as did executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., putting the high-profile event in question.

Earlier on Thursday, senior government ministers from France, Britain and the Netherlands also withdrew from the Riyadh conference, joining a list of global officials and business executives.

"They assured me that they will conduct a complete and thorough investigation".

The Trump White House may have too much at stake to make Saudi Arabia pay a proportionate price for the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Turkish investigators spent nearly nine hours searching the Saudi consul's residence, before moving on to the consulate itself about 200m away, according to Reuters news agency.

The official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the private meetings and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Pompeo told the crown prince that "time is short". Khashoggi refused, and was killed.

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