Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz on Monday ordered an internal probe into the unexplained disappearance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen on October 2.
A Turkish diplomatic source said investigators would inspect the consulate on Monday afternoon.
“The King has ordered the Public Prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the info from the joint team in Istanbul,” a Saudi official, not authorised to speak publicly, told Reuters.
Asked when the public prosecutor could make an announcement about the investigation, the official said: “He was instructed to work quickly.”
Saudi Arabia has said it would retaliate against any pressure or economic sanctions “with greater action”, and Arab allies rallied to support it.
Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal last week to form a joint working group to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance.
King Salman and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening and stressed the importance of the two countries creating the joint group as part of the probe.
Joint team begins inspection
On Monday, investigators began conducting a joint inspection of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi went missing nearly two weeks ago.
A team arrived by unmarked police cars at the consulate and said nothing to journalists waiting outside as they entered the building.
Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts.
The agreement for a search of the consulate came a day after King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, thanking him for welcoming the kingdom’s proposal to set up a joint working group to probe the case.
The probe could hold people accountable if pevidence warrants it.
Also on Monday, King Salman spoke with US President Donald Trump, who said he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately to meet the monarch and travel to other places as needed.
Pompeo is expected to arrive in the kingdom on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has received full support from four other GCC member countries over the massive media onslaught and political pressure.
Also, Jordan and Egypt have come out strongly in support of the kingdom and have condemned threats to undermine the stature of Saudi Arabia.
The countries supporting Saudi Arabia have voiced their opposition to all accusations and unlawful campaigns targeting the kingdom.
They were joined by organisations like the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Muslim World League, which stressed the importance of waiting for results of the joint investigation.
Source: Gulf News