Ex-ambassador: Don't read into Pompeo meeting

Former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan warns not to "read too much into" the relaxed images coming in from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meeting with the Saudi crown prince over the missing journalist.

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 5:31 AM
Updated: Oct 17, 2018 5:52 AM

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saudi Arabia's top leaders on Tuesday "strongly denied" any knowledge of what happened to missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Pompeo said he met with King Salman, the King's son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. In each of those meetings, "the Saudi leadership strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul," Pompeo said.

"We had direct and candid conversations. I emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation, and the Saudi leadership pledged to deliver precisely on that."

"My assessment from these meetings is that there is serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia's senior leaders or senior officials," Pompeo said.

The visit came as sources told CNN that the Saudis are preparing a report that will say the Washington Post columnist died in a botched interrogation intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey. On Tuesday, sources told CNN that a high-ranking official close to the crown prince's inner circle oversaw a botched interrogation that led to Khashoggi's death.

Pompeo will fly to Ankara Wednesday to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Nauert said.

Flurry of meetings

Pompeo was met at the airport in Riyadh on Tuesday by the Saudi foreign minister, and undertook a flurry of engagements with top officials throughout the day.

Pompeo's meeting with the King was relatively brief. Based on the arrival and departure times of his motorcade, CNN estimates the encounter can have lasted no more than 15 minutes. Pompeo met with the Crown Prince for about 35 to 40 minutes, and had dinner with him later.

Turkish authorities have said privately that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate in Istanbul as his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, waited outside. Saudi Arabia has previously insisted he left the building alive, but Cengiz says she never saw him again.

On Tuesday, his family issued a statement in which they acknowledged for the first time that the journalist was no longer alive.

"The strong moral and legal responsibility which our father instilled in us obliges us to call for the establishment of an independent and impartial international commission to inquire into the circumstances of his death," they said in the statement.

The Turkish investigation

A Turkish official told CNN on Tuesday that Khashoggi's body had been cut up after he was killed in the consulate.

At a press conference in Ankara, the Turkish foreign minister said Saudi Arabia had not yet acknowledged its role in Khashoggi's disappearance.

"We didn't receive any confession or information from Saudi Arabia," Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey expected to get more details about the Saudi position when Pompeo arrives in Turkey on Wednesday.

CCTV footage showed vehicles moving from the consulate building to the nearby consul general's residence on October 2. An anticipated search on Tuesday of the consul general's residence did not take place. In the meantime, the Consul General himself, Mohammed Otaibi, left Turkey on Tuesday, the semiofficial Anadolu news agency said. Turkish investigators said the search will take place Wednesday, according to state broadcaster TRT.

On Monday, after CNN reporters saw a cleaning crew enter the main consulate building, Turkish officials conducted an investigation of the facility that lasted well into the evening.

By the time Turkish investigators gained access, a fresh coat of paint had been applied "everywhere" inside the building, a Turkish official told CNN Tuesday.

International pressure mounts

Saudi Arabia has been under intense international pressure to explain Khashoggi's apparent death after he visited the consulate on October 2 to obtain papers that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

The affair has created a diplomatic rift between Saudi Arabia and the West and led to international firms pulling out of a high-profile summit in Riyadh. The CEOs of three top banks -- Standard Chartered, HSBC and Credit Suisse -- announced their withdrawal from the conference Tuesday.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde's office said she is postponing her upcoming trip to the Middle East, which included a stop in Riyadh for the conference, known as "Davos in the Desert."

UK Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn said Khashoggi's disappearance calls into question the close relationship many Western countries have with Saudi Arabia and called for an immediate suspension of arms trade with the kingdom. He added that there needs to be an international investigation into the events in Turkey, describing it as an "abominable tragedy."

During Pompeo's visit, President Trump called the crown prince and the King's son "conveyed that a serious and credible investigation is already underway, Pompeo said.

"He pledged that the work of the Saudi public prosecutor will produce a full and complete conclusion with full transparency for the world to see."

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Riyadh to lift immunity -- bestowed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations -- on its diplomatic premises, given the seriousness of the allegations leveled against Saudi Arabia.

"Under international law, both a forced disappearance and an extrajudicial killing are very serious crimes, and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible," Bachelet said in a statement released Tuesday.

In the United States, Attorney General Jeff Sessions left open the door to potential US involvement when asked about Khashoggi's disappearance. He would offer no additional information and he would not comment on the credibility of the investigation.

"The matter is being given serious evaluation," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312521

Reported Deaths: 5498
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion42641849
Lake27152455
Allen18010298
Elkhart17177221
St. Joseph16799229
Hamilton13011167
Vanderburgh9751120
Tippecanoe858727
Porter827986
Johnson6389165
Hendricks6098157
Vigo608384
Monroe536750
Clark515077
Madison5060122
Delaware4905103
LaPorte465595
Kosciusko462339
Howard344277
Warrick325672
Bartholomew316863
Floyd316277
Wayne307770
Cass299931
Marshall299144
Grant272550
Noble255046
Hancock253852
Henry247537
Boone244554
Dubois237931
Dearborn219030
Jackson215534
Morgan210843
Knox187819
Gibson186925
Shelby182155
Clinton180321
DeKalb177831
Lawrence177648
Adams168222
Miami162614
Wabash162521
Daviess156443
Fayette149234
Steuben147113
Jasper144412
Harrison142924
LaGrange142630
Montgomery142127
Whitley137114
Ripley132115
Huntington127410
Decatur126143
Putnam124627
Randolph124519
Wells124429
White123222
Clay122523
Posey122116
Jefferson118816
Scott109020
Greene102653
Jay99013
Sullivan96416
Starke92021
Jennings85314
Fulton84518
Spencer8378
Perry82521
Fountain7798
Washington7527
Franklin69927
Carroll68613
Orange67328
Vermillion6243
Owen6087
Tipton57627
Parke5706
Newton56312
Rush5438
Blackford53412
Pike50919
Pulaski39515
Martin3585
Brown3424
Benton3402
Crawford2941
Union2702
Switzerland2575
Warren2382
Ohio2317
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Angola
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
Van Wert
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Mostly Cloudy Black Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events