Endeavor Considers Withdrawing From Saudi Arabia Deal

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Noticeably absent from discussions was the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, about whom Khashoggi wrote critically for the Washington Post and whose rise to power prompted the writer to go into a self-imposed exile in the US.

Saudi Arabia was preparing last night to admit that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed accidentally in its custody, according to sources close to a joint inquiry with Turkey. The Saudi government, it said, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation. Saudi officials have called the allegations "baseless", but reports in United States media on Tuesday suggested the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed there.

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

President Trump told reporters on Monday morning that he had just spoken with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, who he said "firmly denied any knowledge" of what happened to Khashoggi.

Turkish investigators completed a search of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday, for the first time since journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. The event is meant to showcase Prince Mohammed bin Salman's modernisation plan for the desert kingdom.

The Saudi foreign ministry said King Salman affirmed his country's "solid" relations with Turkey in the phone call with Erdogan, stressing that no one could undermine their relationship.

But speaking to 60 minutes on Saturday, he warned the United States would be "very upset and angry" if the Saudis ordered Mr Khashoggi's killing.

Foreign capital is key to Saudi Arabia's plans to diversify its economy beyond oil and cut a 12.9 percent jobless rate among its citizens.

Turkey steps up pressure on Saudi Arabia over missing journalist
Khashoggi had entered the consulate at the time to get documents for his forthcoming marriage . The reports did not cite a source and there was no official confirmation.

Turkish officials say they fear a Saudi hit team killed Khashoggi, who has been missing almost two weeks.

September 28: Khashoggi visits the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul for the first time to pick up a permission document to marry Cengiz. A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the building - the last place Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on October 2.

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

His remarks prompted Saudi Arabia to threaten to use its economic muscle to respond to any punitive measure but Rai al-Youm, a pan-Arab newspaper based in London, said the kingdom might have to ready itself for new "milking" by the US.

Such an extraordinary search of a diplomatic post - considered foreign soil under global law - perhaps represents new cooperation between Turkey and its fellow Sunni Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia.

Hariri hailed Saudi Arabia as one of the "central countries entrusted with the stability of the region", and said anti-Saudi campaigns were being used to destabilize the region.

Shortly after the cleaning crew entered the Saudi consulate, a team of investigators arrived in an unmarked police auto to begin an inspection of the building a full 13 days after Khashoggi entered to obtain marriage documents and never reemerged.

Saudi Arabia has warned that it would retaliate against any punishment with even greater measures.