Pompeo meets with Turkish president, FM

Washington Post Publisher: U.S. Must ‘Push Harder for the Truth’ About Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

They were to search the Istanbul residence of the Saudi consul Mohammad al-Otaibi, who was reported to have left Turkey hours before the scheduled raid. The secretary of state also met with Cavusoglu on Wednesday, the news agency says.

Turkish authorities have said they believe 15 Saudi men-government officials and intelligence officers-who arrived in Istanbul the day Khashoggi disappeared are tied to his suspected murder.

Police put up barricades around the consul's official residence Tuesday night. The official spoke on Tuesday on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Worldwide leaders and business executives are severing or rethinking ties to the Saudi government after Khashoggi's high-profile disappearance.

However, another US official involved in policy on Syria said that the transfer of payments was unpredictable and no specific date had been set.

Surveillance footage leaked in Turkish media shows vehicles moving between the consulate and the consul's home after Khashoggi's disappearance.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said Saudi Arabia could be behind the disappearance of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and warned Washington would inflict "severe punishment" if he was murdered.

Just as Pompeo was visiting Riyadh, the US Treasury Department slapped fresh sanctions on Iran, punishing a paramilitary group and a network of businesses accused of financing it.

As he dispatched Pompeo to Riyadh on Monday, Trump told reporters at the White House that King Salman's denials to him about Khashoggi's fate in a phone call "could not have been stronger".

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Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case that has strained the Americans' relationship with the Saudis, carefully cultivated by the USA president.

Trump has taken a less aggressive stance toward the Saudis, suggesting on Monday after speaking with Saudi King Salman that perhaps "rogue killers" were behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, a sharp critic of the crown prince.

Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has become the latest high-profile figure to withdraw from a major Saudi investment conference next week following Mr Khashoggi's disappearance. Turkey fears Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the consulate.

"I don't want to talk about any of the facts", he told reporters on the tarmac of a military airport in Riyadh just before departing, when asked whether Khashoggi had died or not. "Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Saudi leaders have promised to ensure accountability over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as they denied any responsibility for his disappearance.

On Monday, the Saudi government permitted Turkish officials to inspect the consulate nearly two weeks after Khashoggi first went missing. "I would suspend arms sales as long as he is in charge".

Khashoggi vanished on a visit to the consulate two weeks ago.

On Tuesday, G7 foreign ministers called for Saudi Arabia to conduct a "transparent" probe into the issue.

A spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the discussions.

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