Sanctions against Saudi would ‘rock the world’ says Saudi state owned press

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President Donald Trump added to the pressure on Saudi Arabia over the fate of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi, vowing "severe punishment" should the kingdom's leaders be linked to his disappearance.

When asked about a CNN report that the Saudis are preparing to acknowledge Khashoggi's death as a result of an interrogation that went awry, she stressed the need for a "credible and transparent" investigation. The Saudi government, it said, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation.

"The king has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the information from the joint team in Istanbul", an official quoted by Reuters news agency said.

As worldwide pressure intensifies for answers from the Saudis, US President Donald Trump is sending his top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to meet King Salman.

Just a few hours prior, Trump had speculated on Monday that "rogue killers" may have been behind the disappearance of the Saudi journalist and dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case.

The Wall Street Journal said it was not immediately clear if or when Saudi Arabia would release a statement on Khashoggi's disappearance.

Trump promises 'severe punishment' if Saudis killed journalist
The affair has already seen the New York Times , Financial Times , Bloomberg , CNN and CNBC withdraw from the FII conference. Saudi officials said the allegations are "baseless", but have offered no evidence Khashoggi ever left the consulate.

The controversy has troubled Saudi's traditional Western allies - who are key arms suppliers to the kingdom - and also undermined efforts by Mohamed bin Salman to present himself as a modernising ruler. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, KKR executive David Petraeus and Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford have also said that they will not attend the Saudi event.

Pelosi then questioned whether Trump put personal profit ahead of country in the case of Khashoggi - whom the Saudis are reportedly about to admit was killed in a botched interrogation.

"This is unfortunate; this is something that is making our - my work - and the Center for [Democracy and] Human Rights in Saudi Arabia very hard", he continued.

Last week, an anonymous Turkish official alleged that 15 Saudi operatives had flown into the country, bringing with them a doctor and a bone saw with which to dismember Khashoggi's body and smuggle it out of the consulate building.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Tawakkol Karman of Yemen talks during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey Oct 8, 2018.

A security official holds barriers during the arrival of Saudi officials at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 15, 2018.

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"There's something really awful and disgusting about that if that were the case", he said, referring to allegations by Turkish authorities that Saudi Arabia was involved.

A Saudi delegation had entered the consulate one hour before the Turkish police arrived and appeared still to be inside as the search was conducted.

Prince Mohammed told Reuters a year ago that Blackstone and BlackRock Inc were planning to open offices in the kingdom.

A critic of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi visited the consulate to obtain a document confirming he had divorced his ex-wife, in order to allow him to remarry.

President Donald Trump is suggesting that "rogue killers" may be responsible for whatever happened to missing Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

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