|US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Saudi King Salman (right) in Riyadh on October 16, 2018 after being dispatched by President Donald Trump to hold "face to face meetings with the Saudi leadership" on the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. — AFP/VNA Photo|Viet Nam News
RIYADH — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that Saudi leaders have promised to ensure accountability over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as they denied any responsibility for his disappearance.
Pompeo, wrapping up a full day of talks on Tuesday in the Saudi capital, used increasingly definitive language as he spoke of "what happened in their consulate" in Istanbul -- where Khashoggi was last seen entering on October 2.
"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," Pompeo said in a statement.
Echoing tweets from President Donald Trump who called in to Pompeo’s dinner with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the top US diplomat said the Saudi leadership "strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul".
But the heir apparent "pledged that the work of the Saudi public prosecutor will produce a full and complete conclusion with full transparency for the world to see," Pompeo said.
Pompeo, who had a friendly rapport before the cameras as he started his meetings, said his conversation with the Saudis were "direct and candid".
"I emphasised the importance of conducting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation, and the Saudi leadership pledged to deliver precisely on that," Pompeo said. — AFP