Khashoggi's remains may have been taken out of consulate - Turkey

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Turkish forensics and police officers arrive to the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 15, 2018, to search the premises in the investigation over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo said he believes those combined efforts will produce "a complete picture" of what happened to Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in the US who had been critical of the kingdom.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders said at a news conference at United Nations headquarters that Turkey should request that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres initiate a transparent investigation.

'It certainly looks that way to me, it's very sad. The Saudis have dismissed those reports as baseless but have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who wrote critically of Prince Mohammed's rise to power.

The official speaking to CNN said that the New York Times' characterization of Kushner asking President Trump to stand by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was inaccurate and that instead, Kushner told Trump to give them time. Riyadh strongly denies the allegations and said it is investigating the disappearance of the journalist, who was critical of Saudi rulers, calling for reforms.

Suggesting a shift in US opinion, however, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin caved to pressure and said he would join a slew of CEOs and foreign officials in dropping out of a Saudi investment conference slated to begin on October 23 in Riyadh.

While earlier in the week the president questioned whether the audio recording existed and cautioned against blaming Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's disappearance, on Thursday afternoon his administration abruptly canceled a visit to Saudi Arabia by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to attend a large investment conference hosted by the Crown Prince, whom Turkish officials have reportedly claimed was behind Khashoggi's killing. "But we're waiting for the results of about - there are three different investigations, and we should be able to get to the bottom fairly soon".

The president said the consequences for Saudi Arabia, if they are ultimately deemed culpable, "will have to be very severe".

"I don't want to speculate on my worst fears. In this sense, of course, the USA holds a certain responsibility over what happened to him", Putin told the Valdai Discussion Club in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

"UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh."

Pompeo told reporters he stressed to the Saudis that the US takes "very seriously" Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi's disappearance and likely death has caused an worldwide outcry and strained relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States and European countries.

Trump has previously said he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the USA economically. And Pompeo, just back from talks with Saudi and Turkish leaders, said earlier Thursday that the United States needed more facts before deciding "how, or if" to respond.

Earlier on Thursday, senior government ministers from France, Britain and the Netherlands also withdrew from the Riyadh conference, joining a list of worldwide officials and business executives.

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