Pompeo to meet with Saudi king amid Khashoggi probes: Donald Trump

Women gather for a rally and march at Chicago's Grant Park to inspire voter turnout ahead of November's midterm election. Kamil Krzaczynski AFP

"What is the use of discussing an issue that might throw you in a place you don't want to be?" a Saudi citizen, residing in Dubai, told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Claims that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi recorded audio of his own torture and murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on his Apple Watch are being questioned by cyber security experts.

The Saudi government has described the allegations as "baseless", but have offered no evidence that Mr Khashoggi left the consulate.

Such a search would be an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil.

Saudi Arabia appears to be increasingly cornered.

Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, was last seen almost two weeks ago.

The journalist had given his phones to his fiancee before entering the consulate.

But Trump has said he is wary of halting USA military sales to Saudi Arabia over the incident. In a tweet on Monday morning, he emphasized that US resident Khashoggi is a "Saudi citizen", and that King Salman "denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened".

"The kingdom emphasizes that it will respond to any measure against it with an even stronger measure", the official said, according to SPA.

The statement did not elaborate. Benchmark Brent crude now trades above $80 a barrel and USA gasoline prices have risen ahead of the midterm elections.

Saudi media followed on from that statement in television broadcasts and newspaper front pages Monday. It showed a clenched fist made of a crowd of people in the country's green color.

The Arab News' headline was above a front-page editorial by Dubai-based real-estate tycoon Khalaf al-Habtoor, calling on Gulf Arab nations to boycott global firms now backing out of a planned economic summit in Riyadh later this month. The sale is a "tremendous order for our companies", and if the kingdom doesn't buy its weaponry from the United States, they will buy it from others, he said.

Other companies and high-profile businessmen have pulled out of the three-day conference known as "Davos in the desert", which is scheduled to begin on October 23 in Riyadh.

Uber's absence carries a special sting, given both the size of the Saudi investment and its significance for the kingdom's economic reform plans.

The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, is one of the latest high-profile executives to pull out.

Saudi officials arrived in Turkey on Friday after the two governments agreed to a joint investigation into the case, with Saudi officials granting Turkish investigator access to the consulate building, Reuters reported.

Erdogan and King Salman spoke by telephone on Sunday evening and stressed the importance of the two countries creating the joint working group as part of the investigation.

Early on Saturday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency published a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud again denying the kingdom's involvement. Prince Mohammed told Reuters a year ago that Blackstone and BlackRock Inc were planning to open offices in the kingdom.

The Future Investment Initiative will be held in Riyadh between 23 and 25 October.

The warning from the world's top oil exporter came after a turbulent day on the Saudi stock exchange, which plunged as much as 7 per cent at one point on Sunday.



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