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Khashoggi death: Saudi Arabia says journalist was murdered

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Media captionHow Saudi critics keep going missing

Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on a “rogue operation”, giving a new account of an act that sparked a global outcry.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News “the murder” had been a “tremendous mistake” and denied the powerful crown prince had ordered it.

The journalist was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudis, under intense pressure to explain the journalist’s whereabouts, have offered conflicting accounts.

They initially said he had left the building unharmed on 2 October but on Friday admitted for the first time he was dead, saying he had been killed in a fight. This claim met widespread scepticism.

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the building and say they have evidence to prove it.

How has the Saudi version of events changed?

Adel al-Jubeir’s comments, describing the incident as murder, are some of the most direct to come from a Saudi official.

“We are determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder,” he said.

“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he added. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

He also said that they did not know where the body was and insisted the action had not been ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seen as Saudi Arabia’s most powerful figure.

“Even the senior leadership of our intelligence service was not aware of this,” he said, calling it a “rogue operation”.

These remarks followed Saudi Arabia’s admission on Friday that Khashoggi had died. A statement from the public prosecutor said he had been killed when a fight broke out with some of the people he was meeting inside the consulate.

Until this point – for 18 days – the authorities had maintained that the Saudi critic was last seen leaving the building alive.

They then said they had arrested 18 people, sacked two aides of Mohammed bin Salman and set up a body, under his leadership, to reform the intelligence agency over the killing.

Both King Salman and the crown prince called Khashoggi’s son, Salah, on Sunday to express their condolences over his death, the Saudi Press Agency reports.

Salah Khashoggi resides in Saudi Arabia and, according to the Wall Street Journal, had been barred from leaving the country to visit his father who was living in self-imposed exile in the US.

Meanwhile, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée. Hatice Cengiz, who raised the alarm about his disappearance after waiting for him for hours outside the consulate, was given 24-hour police protection, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reports.

How has the world reacted?

In a Washington Post interview on Saturday, US President Donald Trump said there had been “deception” and “lies” in Saudi Arabia’s explanation, having previously said he found their narrative to be credible.

He said he would “love” it if the crown prince was not responsible for the murder. The president has raised the possibility of imposing sanctions but said halting an arms deal would “hurt us more than it would hurt them”.

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance and death

The UK, France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing shock at the death and demanding a full explanation, saying: “Nothing can justify this killing and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will not allow arms exports to Saudi Arabia to continue given “the current circumstances”, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has threatened to cancel a multi-billion dollar defence contract with the kingdom over the affair.

But several of Saudi Arabia’s regional allies have come out in its support.

Kuwait praised King Salman for his handling of the case while Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have been among those reflecting similar praise.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would reveal the “naked truth” of the matter in parliament on Tuesday.

Where is the investigation now?

Although Turkey has so far stopped short of officially blaming Saudi Arabia for the killing, investigators have said they have audio and video evidence which shows Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate.

Police have searched the nearby Belgrad forest in Istanbul where they believe the body may have been taken and one official was hopeful its fate would be known “before long”.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Investigators are searching Belgrad forest for the body

Both the consulate and the residence of the Saudi consul have been searched.

Turkish prosecutors have also been taking statements from the consulate’s locally employed staff.

Reuters news agency reported on Sunday it had spoken to a Saudi official who said Khashoggi had died in a chokehold after resisting attempts to return him to Saudi Arabia. His body was then rolled in a rug and given to a local “co-operator” to dispose of.

A Saudi operative then reportedly donned Khashoggi’s clothes and left the consulate.

The official said Saudi statements had changed because of “false information reported internally at the time”.

Jamal Khashoggi killing: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October – Turkish government announces Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October – Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October – Turkish officials tell the BBC they believe Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October – Turkish officials tell BBC Arabic they have audio and video evidence of the killing. The existence of such tapes had previously been reported by local media

15 and 17-18 October – Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

19 October – Saudi state TV reports an initial investigation shows Jamal Khashoggi died in the consulate. Two Saudi senior officials are dismissed and King Salman announces the formation of a ministerial committee to restructure the intelligence services

20 October – Turkish officials vow to reveal all evidence relating to the killing

21 October -Saudi foreign minister tells Fox News it was a “rogue operation” and denies the crown prince ordered the “murder”

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President Trump to pull US from Russia missile treaty

A Russian missile is fired during military exercises Image copyright EPA
Image caption Russia denies building missiles that violate the accord

The US will withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, President Donald Trump has confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Trump said Russia had “violated” the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

The deal banned ground-launched medium-range missiles, with a range of between 500 and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

The US would not let Russia “go out and do weapons [while] we’re not allowed to”, Mr Trump said.

“I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” the president said after a campaign rally in Nevada. “They’ve been violating it for many years.”

In 2014, President Obama accused Russia of breaching the INF after it allegedly tested a ground-launched cruise missile. He reportedly chose not to withdraw from the treaty under pressure from European leaders, who said such a move could restart an arms race.

A Russian foreign ministry source said the US move was motivated by a “dream of a unipolar world” where it is the only global superpower, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

‘A significant setback’

Analysis by BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Concern about Russia’s development and deployment of a missile system that breaches the INF treaty predates the Trump administration. But the president’s decision to walk away from the agreement marks a significant setback for arms control.

Many experts believe that negotiations should have continued to try to bring the Russians back into compliance. It is, they fear, part of the wider unravelling of the whole system of arms control treaties that helped to curb strategic competition during the Cold War.

Other factors too may have played into President Trump’s decision. This was a bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow. China was free to develop and deploy intermediate range nuclear missiles. Some in the Trump administration feel that the INF treaty places them at a growing disadvantage in their developing strategic rivalry with Beijing .

The US insists the Russians have, in breach of the deal, developed a new medium-range missile called the Novator 9M729 – known to Nato as the SSC-8.

It would enable Russia to launch a nuclear strike at Nato countries at very short notice.

Russia has said little about its new missile other than to deny that it is in breach of the agreement.

Analysts say Russia sees such weapons as a cheaper alternative to conventional forces.

The New York Times reported on Friday the US was considering withdrawing from the treaty in a bid to counter China’s expanding military presence in the western Pacific.

The country was not a signatory of the deal, allowing it to develop medium-range missiles without restraint.

National Security Adviser John Bolton is expected to tell the Russians of the withdrawal during talks in Moscow later this week.

What is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty?

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan signed the INF treaty in 1987
  • Signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, the arms control deal banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges, except sea-launched weapons
  • The US had been concerned by the Soviet deployment of the SS-20 missile system and responded by placing Pershing and Cruise missiles in Europe – sparking widespread protests
  • By 1991, nearly 2,700 missiles had been destroyed. Both countries were allowed to inspect the others installations
  • In 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin declared the treaty no longer served Russia’s interests. The move came after the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002

The last time the US withdrew from a major arms treaty was in 2002, when President George W Bush pulled the US out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which banned weapons designed to counter ballistic nuclear missiles.

His administration’s move to set up a missile shield in Europe alarmed the Kremlin, and was scrapped by the Obama administration in 2009. It was replaced by a modified defence system in 2016.

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Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudi Arabia says journalist killed in fight

Jamal Khashoggi Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption This is the first time Saudi Arabia has admitted the death of Jamal Khashoggi

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the country’s state TV reported quoting an initial probe.

It said deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.

US President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that Saudi Arabia was a “great ally”.

This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Mr Khashoggi has died.

The acknowledgement follows two weeks of denials that Saudi Arabia had any involvement in the disappearance of the prominent Saudi critic when he entered the consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to seek paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

The Saudi kingdom had come under increased pressure to explain Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance after Turkish officials said he was deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Turkish forensic investigators have already searched the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence

On Friday, Turkish police widened their search from the consulate grounds to a nearby forest where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of.

Observers are questioning whether Riyadh’s Western allies will find the Saudis’ account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

‘This is only a first step to the truth’

Analysis by BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner

The Saudi leadership will now be hoping that its belated admission that Khashoggi did die after all inside its consulate – coupled with a handful of sackings and arrests – will be enough to draw a line under this affair. It won’t.

This is only a first step towards publicising the truth of what really happened. Given the days of indignant denials by the Saudi leadership it’s doubtful we would have even got this far without sustained international pressure.

There can only be one of two possible alternatives here. Either – as many suspect – the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was to blame, or he had lost control of his inner circle, something most observers find hard to believe.

MBS, as he’s known, has a huge following amongst young patriotic Saudis who see him as a visionary reformer. If that support were now to ebb away then the crown prince could find himself dangerously isolated at court.

What is Saudi Arabia’s version of events?

A statement from Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

The investigations are still under way, it said, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

State media said Saudi King Salman had ordered the sacking of two senior officials.

Saud al-Qahtani is a prominent member of the Saudi Royal Court and adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Image copyright Twiiter/@suadq1978
Image caption Saud al-Qahtani has over a million followers on Twitter

Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri has acted as the top spokesman for the kingdom about the war in Yemen.

Gen Assiri spoke to the BBC in 2017 about the conflict, defending Saudi Arabia’s actions.

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Media captionNawal Al-Maghafi speaks to Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri

King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.

Saudi Arabia said it had acted on information provided by Turkish authorities as part of its inquiry, investigating a number of suspects.

How did Trump react?

President Trump said the arrests were an important “first step”. He praised the kingdom for acting quickly, and while he said sanctions were an option against the country, he spoke of the possible effect such moves would have on the US economy.

Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, he replied, “I do.”

He stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

He spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110bn (£84bn) arms deal he signed with the kingdom.

“I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution,” he said.

Earlier this week Mr Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

The White House said in a separate statement the US was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, said he was “sceptical” of the report on the journalist’s death.

Why does Turkey say he was murdered?

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed – and they say they have video and audio evidence to back this up.

Saudi Arabia has denied this, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Turkish newspapers with close links to the government have published gruesome details of the alleged audio, including what they describe as the sounds of screams and Mr Khashoggi being interrogated and tortured.

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Mr Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October

  • Turkish government announces Mr Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October

  • Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October

  • Turkish officials tell the BBC they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October

15 and 17-18 October

  • Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

20 October

  • Saudi state TV reports an initial investigation shows Jamal Khashoggi died in the consulate
  • Two Saudi senior officials are dismissed and King Salman announces the formation of a ministerial committee to restructure the intelligence services

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Scientists prepare for expedition to the world’s deepest depths

(Reuters) – For the first time, humans will visit the deepest part of each of the five oceans, plunging to the sea floor using a two-person craft designed to withstand the intense pressures more than 5.5 miles (9 km) below the surface.

The project, known as Five Deeps Expedition, will use a special submersible vehicle that took more than three years to build. It is made of titanium and other special materials that can dive to the bottom of the ocean, said Victor Vescovo, an explorer who will pilot the vehicle after it leaves its supporting boat and descends toward the deepest parts of the ocean.

“I’m very much looking forward to pushing not only the limits of the technology and myself and my crew, but also hopefully push humanity forward a little bit in terms of our understanding of our world and showing what we can do as a species,” said Vescovo, who has climbed the world’s seven highest mountain peaks and trekked to both the North and South Poles.

The maker of the submersible vehicle, Triton Submarines LLC of Vero Beach, Florida, said on the company website that it is the only submersible certified to carry humans on dives of 36,000 feet (11,000 meters). Discovery and Science Channel will capture the entire mission for a project known as “Deep Planet” that will air in 2019.

Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

ZF takes 35 percent stake in autonomous driving specialist ASAP

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen said on Friday it acquired a 35 percent stake in ASAP, a Germany-based maker of software and testing systems for autonomous driving applications and electric vehicles.

ASAP specializes in car-to-x communication, human-machine interfaces and electronic architecture and last year generated sales of 84 million euros. It employs 1,100 staff.

ZF’s Chief Executive Officer Wolf-Henning Scheider recently said ZF will invest about 12 billion euros in electromobility and autonomous driving over the next five years.

A purchase price for the ASAP stake was not disclosed.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze, editing by Riham Alkousaa

Jamal Khashoggi case: Turkish police ‘search forest’

A Turkish forensic officer waits outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul 17 October 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Turkish forensic investigators have already searched the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence

Police in Turkey investigating the alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have expanded their search, reports say.

Unnamed Turkish officials say his body may have been disposed of in a nearby forest or on farmland.

Mr Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, where Turkish officials allege he was murdered.

Saudi Arabia denies any knowledge of what happened to him.

Samples taken from the Saudi consulate and the consul’s residence during searches this week are being tested for a match with Mr Khashoggi’s DNA.

Separately, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly denied having listened to an audio recording Turkey says is evidence of Mr Khashoggi’s murder.

“I’ve heard no tape, I’ve seen no transcript,” he said.

Mr Pompeo also strongly criticised ABC News, which had earlier quoted a senior Turkish official as saying that he had been given access to the recording.

“This is wrong to do to the fiancé of Khashoggi,” he added. “This is a very serious matter that we’re working diligently on, and so to put out headlines that are factually false does no one any good.”

Turkey has previously said it has audio and video evidence of Mr Khashoggi’s murder, but these have not been made public.

The incident has caused considerable strain between Riyadh and its Western allies, with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox becoming the latest senior figures to pull out of a major investment conference in Riyadh next week.

The summit is being hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda.

However, a number of major businesses – including Pepsi and EDF – are still intending to go despite growing pressure for a boycott.

What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?

It is not clear. Mr Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, to pick up paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed.

Saudi Arabia has denied the claims, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

Is there any evidence?

Turkish media with close links to the government have published gruesome details on the alleged audio recording, saying screams, and the voice of the consul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, could be heard in the recording.

The Yeni Safak newspaper, which is close to the government, quotes him as telling alleged Saudi agents sent to Istanbul: “Do this outside. You’re going to get me in trouble.”

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

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Media captionUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Saudis will respond in a “timely fashion”

However, Saudi Arabia says reports on Mr Khashoggi’s death are “completely false and baseless” and that it is “open to co-operation” to find out what happened.

Several high-profile human rights groups have demanded that Turkey ask the UN to investigate the possible killing of Mr Khashoggi.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Turkish investigators spent almost nine hours searching the Saudi consul’s residence, before moving on to the consulate itself about 200m (650ft) away, according to Reuters news agency.

Several vehicles with Saudi diplomatic number plates were filmed by CCTV cameras moving from the consulate to the residence just under two hours after Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate.

How have other countries reacted?

Saudi Arabia is a key ally to many Western countries, especially the US. As one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, it has significant influence on the world stage.

The Dutch and French finance ministers, and the head of the International Monetary Fund, are amongst those now boycotting the summit.

On Thursday Donald Trump told reporters it “certainly looks” like Mr Khashoggi is dead, adding “it’s very sad”.

He said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

However, Mr Trump has also been accused of providing cover to the Saudi government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is a pity that Mr Khashoggi has gone missing, but that Russia cannot damage relations with Saudi Arabia without hard facts.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Hatice Cengiz said she waited outside the consulate for 11 hours, but did not see her fiancé

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

Mr Khashoggi is a prominent journalist who has covered major stories for various Saudi news organisations.

He served as an adviser to top Saudi officials, but later fell out of favour with the government.

He went into self-imposed exile in the US last year, and wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published Mr Khashoggi’s latest column – a call for press freedom across the Arab world.

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Mr Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October

  • Turkish government announces Mr Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October

  • Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October

  • Turkish officials tell the BBC they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October

15 and 17-18 October

  • Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

Read more: What we know about Saudi journalist’s disappearance

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Jamal Khashoggi: Pressure grows on Saudis as US envoy meets king

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meeting Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 16 October 2018 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Pompeo thanked the king for his “commitment” to an investigation

Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met King Salman in Riyadh.

Mr Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents but the Saudis have denied this.

However, US media are reporting that the Saudis may be preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong.

Overnight, Turkish police completed a search of the consulate after being admitted by Saudi authorities.

What’s likely to come from the Pompeo meeting?

The secretary of state and the king have now met in Riyadh.

While much of what was discussed during has yet to be announced, the US State Department said that Mr Pompeo had used the time to thank the king for his “commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation” into Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Mr Pompeo was also expected to seek further clarification over a conversation between the king and President Donald Trump on Monday.

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Media captionPresident Trump and the King of Saudi Arabia discussed the disappearance of the Saudi journalist

Tweeting earlier about the call, Mr Trump said: “Just spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen’.”

He later told reporters: “The denial was very, very strong. It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”

There is a lot at stake given the strength of Saudi-US ties. Mr Trump has already ruled out cancelling a lucrative arms deal, although he did threaten “severe punishment” if the kingdom were found to be responsible for the death.

King Salman ordered an investigation into the missing journalist on Monday. Saudi statements up to now have dismissed allegations of a killing as “baseless” and “lies”.

The kingdom has also angrily rejected what it called political and economic “threats”, saying it would respond to any punitive action, such as sanctions, “with a bigger one”.

Mr Pompeo is also expected to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his day in Riyadh. The secretary of state may then head to Turkey.

What is this US media line about?

It appeared in the New York Times and on CNN, quoting unnamed sources.

They said Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that Mr Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong and the intention had been only to abduct him from Turkey.

This may explain in part Mr Trump’s “rogue killers” line.

Who such killers could be and how it fits into reports of a Saudi team being despatched to the consulate before Mr Khashoggi’s arrival will presumably need to covered.

CNN said the Saudis may argue the operation was conducted without clearance and those responsible would be held accountable.

The Khashoggi family in Saudi Arabia issued a statement calling for an “independent and impartial international commission”.

Reputations may be forever tainted

By Frank Gardner, BBC News

The recent, highly charged exchange of words between Washington and Riyadh now appears to have given way to a mutual search for the least bad explanation. Both countries’ leaders know they have an enormous amount to lose if this affair ended up splitting apart their 73-year old strategic partnership.

Iran, as the regional rival to Saudi Arabia, would be the prime beneficiary if the Saudis were to lose their defensive US umbrella. President Trump is also correct when he says thousands of US jobs would be lost, with China and Russia to be among those lining up to replace them.

Which begs the wider question: is the West’s relationship with Saudi Arabia so important that it outweighs the need to condemn and punish what many believe was a state-sponsored murder of a journalist inside a consulate?

Hence the urgent dispatching of US Secretary of State for talks with the Saudi leadership. In private there may well be some strong words, in public both countries may want to present a united stand. But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the international reputation of the Saudi Crown Prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.

What happened with the consulate search?

For the first time since the journalist disappeared on 2 October, Turkish investigators were allowed to enter the building.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Turkish officers search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

A Saudi team entered first on Monday, followed roughly an hour later by Turkish forensic police.

The Turkish investigators, some wearing overalls, gloves and covered shoes. stayed for about eight hours, leaving in the early hours of Tuesday.

They reportedly took with them samples, including of soil from the consulate garden.

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to conduct a search but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood. It is not clear whether that happened.

Reports on Tuesday said Istanbul police would also search the Saudi consul’s residence.

What allegedly happened in Istanbul?

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

source

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey ‘to search Saudi consulate’ in Istanbul

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Turkish officials investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will search Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul later on Monday, according to reports.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents nearly two weeks ago, but Riyadh strongly denies this.

Diplomatic pressure is growing on the Saudis to give a fuller explanation.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.

“The king has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the information from the joint team in Istanbul,” an official quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Last week, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to investigate Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The latest moves come as more leading business figures say they will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh later this month.

The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, is one of the latest high-profile executives to pull out.

When will the search take place?

Turkish diplomatic sources said the consulate would be searched by a joint Turkish-Saudi team in the late afternoon or evening.

Details of how the search will be carried out have not been revealed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police barricades have been set up in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to search the building but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood.

King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening, officials said, and stressed the importance of the two countries working together on the case.

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials have audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the building.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents, but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

How have other countries reacted?

US President Donald Trump has threatened Saudi Arabia with “severe punishment” if it emerges that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

In an interview with CBS News, Mr Trump said that, if true, the fact that a journalist was murdered was “terrible and disgusting”.

However, he ruled out halting big military contracts with Riyadh.

On Sunday, Riyadh angrily rejected political and economic “threats” over the missing journalist and said it would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”.

The UK, Germany and France have called for a “credible” investigation into the disappearance.

Their foreign ministers said that if anyone were found responsible they should be held accountable, and urged a detailed response from Riyadh.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that whatever happened now was “absolutely up to Saudi Arabia”.

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