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Khashoggi murder violated international law: Pompeo

Pompeo said the murder violates the norms of international law [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 November, 2018

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was a violation of international law.
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul was a violation of international law, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

"It's an awful thing that took place," Pompeo told conservative talk show host Brian Kilmeade. 

"The killing, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Turkey violates the norms of international law. That much is very, very clear," he said.

But the top US diplomat nonetheless stressed that he wanted to preserve the decades-old alliance with Saudi Arabia and declined explicitly to criticise Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MbS], who has been consolidating power.

His remarks came as Turkey's chief prosecutor said that Khashoggi, a critic of the palace who lived in self-imposed exile in suburban Washington, was strangled as soon as he entered the Istanbul consulate, with his body then dismembered.

Pompeo, who was not asked directly about the Turkish findings, said the United States "won't rely on others" but would "develop our fact pattern" based on information it receives.

Pompeo said last week that the United States had identified 21 Saudis whose visas would either be revoked or who would be ineligible for future visas and said that more action would come.

But President Donald Trump has ruled out major actions such as ending arms sales to the kingdom, the largest foreign buyer of US weapons.

Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, to complete paperwork.

Saudi Arabia initially claimed that he left the consulate building alive, before saying a team of spies killed Khashoggi, without the knowledge of MbS.

Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 Saudi suspects who Riyadh claims are being detained in Saudi Arabia over the killing of Khashoggi.

Turkey is also calling for Saudi Arabia to reveal where the location of Khashoggi's body, with Riyadh claiming a local disposed of his remains.

President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has called for Saudi Arabia to disclose identity of an alleged local collaborator.

But a Turkish source told a news agency that Saudi Arabia has not been cooperating on the issue.

"The Saudi officials seemed primarily interested in finding out what evidence the Turkish authorities had against the perpetrators," the official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

Khashoggi’s death has brought near unprecedented international scrutiny on Saudi Arabia and its powerful crown prince. The journalist's fiancee has accused the regime of a massive cover-up.

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