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Trump Jumps to the Defense of Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi Case

At their meeting on Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo “thanked the king for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent and timely investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” said Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman.

Mr. Pompeo was greeted on arrival by Prince Khalid bin Salman, a son of the king and younger brother of the crown prince. Prince Khalid had been serving as the Saudi ambassador to Washington, but returned to Riyadh last week, and United States officials said he was unlikely to return.

After seeing the king, Mr. Pompeo met with Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, and later with Crown Prince Mohammed.

“We are strong and old allies,” the crown prince said in English, in brief remarks as the meeting began. “We face our challenges together.”

The administration has refused calls to back down from lucrative weapon sales to Saudi Arabia. And Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, still plans to attend a Saudi investment forum next week, even as several American businesses and lobbyists have distanced themselves from the country.

On Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia.” It was not clear what prompted that statement, but several news organizations have noted recently that the president has boasted about real estate deals with wealthy Saudis and once sold his yacht to a Saudi prince — ties that had been reported before, but that have drawn new attention because of the Khashoggi case.

Amid mounting international outrage over the disappearance, the United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said on Tuesday that the Saudi authorities should reveal all they know.

The Washington Post’s publisher and chief executive, Fred Ryan, also spoke out while Mr. Pompeo was visiting with the Saudis. “The Saudi government can no longer remain silent, and it is essential that our own government and others push harder for the truth,” Mr. Ryan said on Twitter.

Source: NYT > World

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