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US gives Saudi Arabia 'a few more days' in journalist probe as Treasury Secretary withdraws from summit

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed Donald Trump after returning from the Middle East to investigate Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Donald Trump during a prayer before a meeting of his cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
Donald Trump during a prayer before a meeting of his cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

THE UNITED STATES will give Saudi Arabia “a few more days” to work on its probe into the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it has been announced.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has reported to President Donald Trump after travelling to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, told journalists that the Saudis assured him “they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all the facts”.

Trump had put off a decision on what to do about the crisis in relations with the Middle Eastern ally until Pompeo reported back his talks in Riyadh and Ankara.

“I told President Trump this morning we ought to give them a few more days to complete that so that we, too, have a complete understanding of the facts surrounding that, at which point we can make decisions how or if the United States should respond to the incident surrounding Mr Khashoggi,” Pompeo said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced he would not attend the Future Investment Initiative summit to be held in the country.

Mnuchin made the announcement after a meeting with Trump and Pompeo, and it followed calls to boycott the summit over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime as well as a US resident and a Washington Post columnist, disappeared on 2 October after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for documents he needed to get married.

Turkish officials were reported to be in possession of an audio recording demonstrating that he was tortured, murdered and dismembered by a Saudi assassination team inside the consulate.

© AFP 2018 with additional reporting from Stephen McDermott.

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