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Suspects in Khashoggi case had ties to Saudi Crown Prince

Suspects in Khashoggi case had ties to Saudi Crown Prince

On Tuesday, President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the crown prince informed them that an investigation into the matter had begun and answers would be forthcoming shortly.

A suspect identified by Turkey in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The New York Times reported Tuesday, October 16.

In Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir greeted Pompeo when he landed.

Unnamed Turkish officials said a search of the Istanbul Saudi consulate has given more evidence that the Saudi critic was killed there, the BBC reported.

Before departing for Turkey, Pompeo said Saudi Arabia has committed to conducting a complete investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

"My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over", Erdogan told reporters.

"I think we have to find out what happened first", Trump told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday.

"Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent", he said.

A search was to be conducted on Tuesday of the Saudi consul's residence in Turkey, some 200 metres away from the consulate, where Khashoggi was last seen alive.

Trump made the comment after he said Saudi King Salman strongly denied to him any knowledge of what happened.

Pompeo, who will also meet Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, visits Ankara after a trip to Riyadh where he held talks with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior leaders on the case of Khashoggi.

"I've got to say, you know, this was supposed to be a new Saudi government that was going to be reforming - opening up - transparency - moderating Islam - and to see something like this could be a real setback, " he said.

But there has been mounting criticism against some of the prince's moves. Saudi officials say he left the building, but have provided no evidence to support this.

Monday's search of the consulate yielded evidence that Khashoggi was killed there, media reported.

"The effort behind the scenes is focused on avoiding a diplomatic crisis between the two countries", said Ayham Kamel, the head of the Eurasia Group's Mideast and North African practice. The other three suspects are connected by witness accounts and other records linked to the Saudi crown prince's security team, the report added.Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a diplomat assigned to the Saudi Embassy in London in 2007, is among the suspects, the report said citing a British diplomatic roster. Saudi Arabia is the world's top oil exporter and spends lavishly on Western arms and is a major Sunni Muslim ally.

Saudi Arabia also responded by recalling its ambassador in Ottawa, freezing trade, cancelling flights to and from Toronto and recalling its students from Canadian medical schools.

Turkish authorities have an audio recording indicating that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, Turkish sources have told Reuters.

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