US President Donald Trump on Monday said he was sending US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman over the unexplained disappearance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In a post on Twitter, Trump said he was sending Pompeo “immediately” but gave no other details. Representatives for the White House and the US Department of State could not be immediately reached for any further comment.
Trump also said he had spoken with the king about Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish sources have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the building and his body removed, allegations that Riyadh dismisses as baseless.
Salman denied “any knowledge of whatever may have happened” to Khashoggi and told him the Saudis are working closely with Turkey on the case, Trump wrote.
In an interview over the weekend, Trump threatened “severe punishment” for Riyadh if it turned out Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi authorities and a legal resident of the United States, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia, in turn, threatened to retaliate. But Trump has said he is wary of halting U.S. military sales to Saudi Arabia over the incident.
Earlier on Monday, Salman ordered an internal probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance while a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the consulate.