U.S. revoking visas, exploring sanctions in Khashoggi death

Larry Hoffman
October 27, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate by Saudi agents.

Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel visited Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday for talks with officials about the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor.

He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October the second.

Saudi Arabia first denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance but a Saudi official eventually attributed his death on October 2 to a botched attempt to return him to the kingdom. Police have searched both areas for evidence of Khashoggi's remains, Reuters has reported. Saudi prosecutors said Thursday that Turkish evidence indicates that the killing was premeditated.

"It is not over yet", he said.

Erdogan has said that 15 Saudi officials arrived in Istanbul shortly before Khashoggi's death and that a man, apparently dressed in the writer's clothes, acted as a possible decoy by walking out of the consulate on the day of the disappearance.

France has said it will consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia if its intelligence services find Riyadh was behind Khashoggi's death.

So far, the Trump administration has resisted calls by many United States politicians to halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

Also on Tuesday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with The Washington Post, which Khashoggi used to work for, that the United States will continue to dig up the truth about the death of the 59-year-old journalist.

Speaking in Jakarta, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said procedures would be put in place to "ensure that something like this can never happen again".

The crown prince even joked about the incident at the forum, saying Hariri would be in Saudi Arabia this time for two days.

"I think this conference will open the gateways to Asian and Russian investment in the Saudi economy regardless, irrespective if the crisis gets resolved or not", said Ayham Kamel of Eurasia Group.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowed on Wednesday that the killers would be brought to justice, in his first public comments on the matter.

"These penalties will not be the last word on the matter from the United States", the USA top diplomat said.

As with much of the investigation there have been conflicting reports.

The official said Kushner - like other members of the administration, including Trump - believes Saudi Arabia should suffer some sort of effect, but said Kushner also believes the U.S. -Saudi relationship "shouldn't be blown up" because of the Khashoggi matter.

The murder of Khashoggi, a leading critic of the young crown prince, has overshadowed the high-profile conference, meant to highlight Mohammed's drive to modernize the kingdom's economy and diversify away from oil.

After the killing, many global business leaders and Western officials pulled out of the forum, including the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Uber, Siemens and Blackrock.

The king assured Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Thursday that the Saudi government was determined to hold the guilty parties accountable and make sure "they receive their punishment", according to the official Saudi press agency.

The United States said Tuesday it was revoking the visas of Saudis implicated in the murder, as President Donald Trump ridiculed the kingdom's response as "one of the worst cover-ups" in history.

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