ADDS REMARKS FROM POMPEO
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. on Tuesday confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Ankara later this week to meet with his Turkish counterpart.
The top diplomat will arrive in the Turkish capital on Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
"In Ankara, the Secretary will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to welcome the decision to release Pastor Andrew Brunson and to discuss other issues of bilateral importance," she said. "The Secretary will also discuss the Jamal Khashoggi case and reiterate the U.S. offer to assist Turkey in its investigation."
Pompeo is currently in Saudi Arabia, where he has held talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over Khashoggi, a Saudi Washington Post journalist who has been missing since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Khashoggi has long been feared killed at the consulate after his disappearance.
In Riyadh, Pompeo met with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
"We had direct and candid conversations. I emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation, and the Saudi leadership pledged to deliver precisely on that," he said in a statement.
"My assessment from these meetings is that there is serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia’s senior leaders or senior officials," he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump raised the possibility that "rogue killers" could have been responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance after speaking over the phone with the Saudi King for 20 minutes on Monday.
Trump said Salman "firmly denies" any knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance and on Tuesday said bin Salman also denies any knowledge of the matter.
Trump said answers regarding Khashoggi's fate would be forthcoming soon.
Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation of what happened to Khashoggi, while several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the UK — are pressing for the mystery to be cleared up as soon as possible.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story