US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor seen a transcript related to the disappearance of Saudi Arabia’s dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, his spokesperson has said.
The statement came after ABC News claimed that Pompeo heard the alleged audio recording during his meeting with the Turkish officials in Ankara.
Khashoggi, 60, who has not been seen since entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, is feared to have been killed inside the mission. The incident has resulted in a global outrage, more so in the US where he lived as a legal permanent resident and worked for ‘The Washington Post’.
“Secretary Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
Pompeo returned from his trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey on Wednesday night and met President Donald Trump on Thursday who said that it looks like Khashoggi is dead and warned of “very severe” consequences if the kingdom is responsible.
According to ABC News, Pompeo also saw a transcript of the alleged audio.
A day earlier, Pompeo refused to answer questions on the issue.
“I don’t have anything to say about that,” he told reporters a day earlier.
Hours after his meeting with Pompeo, Trump told the New York Times in an interview that Khashoggi was assassinated, as per multiple intelligence sources.
“This one has caught the imagination of the world, unfortunately. It’s not a positive. Not a positive,” Trump told The Times.
“Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he’s dead. That’s based on everything — intelligence coming from every side,” he said, according to the daily.
He reiterated the same to reporters’ moments later.
It is only after Trump’s meeting with Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he will not be attending the upcoming financial summit in Saudi Arabia.
According to The Times, Trump’s view on Saudi Arabia appeared to be hardening after his meeting with Pompeo.