Arab Nations Pledge Support For Saudi Arabia As 'Khashoggi Affair' Heats Up

A security personnel stands at the entrance of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul Saturday Oct. 13

Meanwhile, in a comment that seemed created to give Saudi officials a route to climb down from outright denials, US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that "rogue killers" could be responsible for the disappearance and presumed murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. The officials were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations", said the statement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The unfolding crisis over the October 02, 2018 disappearance and likely murder of Jamal Khashoggi has highlighted growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Saudi government could not be reached immediately for comment on the CNN report. Pompeo is expected to go to Riyadh and later visit Turkey. It had been claimed that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman - the son of King Salman of Saudi Arabia - is considering bidding for the Glazer family's private shares in United. He and Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, have forged close ties.

Trump earlier had said Saudi Arabia could face "severe punishment" if it was proven it was involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

"The objective of (Sunday's) message broadcasted by the Saudi national media is twofold: one goal is to satisfy the domestic public opinion that Saudi Arabia and its royal family will not be humiliated and the other goal is to send a message to the US", Mitreski, researcher at the University of Sydney, told AFP.

But he has said repeatedly that he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have said he should - because it would harm the United States economically. At this moment there are no plans to change the Formula E calendar this season. The Saudi government, it said, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing an official account admitting the journalist was killed after entering the consulate.

"We're just hurting ourselves", Trump said.

A joint Saudi-Turkish team arrived at the consulate in Istanbul's upscale 4th Levent neighborhood as journalists filmed and shot photographs of their arrival.

Trump said "nobody knows yet" what happened inside the consulate, "but we'll probably be able to find out" if Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder.

The search came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman also had their first telephone talks since the controversy erupted, in what appeared to be a conciliatory conversation according to official readouts. Cengiz waits for him outside for four hours, but he never comes out and is told by consulate staff that he left out a back door.

Saudia Arabia is allegedly lining up a takeover bid for Manchester United as the kingdom faces global scrutiny over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.

Business barons including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses Bloomberg and CNN, have pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII).

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