Khashoggi's murder: Saudi Arabia holds initial hearing

Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul

Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul

His talks will focus on Syria and "how the United States will work with allies and partners to prevent the resurgence of Daesh, stand fast with those who fought with us against Daesh, and counter Iranian malign behavior in the region", his spokesman said.

Quoting a U.S. official, Reuters has reported that Pompeo will underscore USA support for allies, counter-terrorism cooperation during Middle East visit.

Furthermore, Pompeo is likely to raise the case with Saudi leaders and "continue to push for accountability and credibility from the Saudi leadership as they move through the legal process that began earlier this week", the publication quoted sources, as saying.

Pompeo's visit also comes at a time when USA troops are being pulled out of Syria on the directions of President Donald Trump.

He has since spoken of "slowly" sending troops home, with a vague timetable "over a period of time".

Pompeo will also visit Israel and Turkey, following in the footsteps of Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who will arrive in the area Friday.

Pope tells European Union to stop bickering over migrant ships in Epiphany message
Mr Salvini has often criticised the pope, who has made defence of migrants a key feature of his pontificate. The rescue boats belong to the German NGOs Sea-Watch and Sea Eye.

It will be Pompeo's first trip to the region since President Donald Trump's recent announcement that he intends to withdraw USA forces from Syria.

"We have no timeline for our military forces to withdraw from Syria", an unnamed official confirmed in a telephone news briefing, cited by Politico. The State Department said Pompeo will visit eight countries in the region, starting with Jordan and ending in Kuwait.

Saudi King Salman sacked Saud al-Qahtani, a former top aide to Prince Mohammed, Istanbul Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi and former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri in connection with Khashoggi's murder.

Another key issue for discussion with the Gulf states is the almost four-year-old war in Yemen, in which a Saudi-led, US-supported coalition supporting Yemen's government has battled with Iran-supported Houthi rebels over control of the country.

Given the possible involvement of Saudi authorities in Khashoggi's murder and the lack of independence of Saudi Arabia's criminal justice system, the impartiality of any investigation and trial would be in question.

Pompeo will seek an update on the investigation into Khashoggi's death, as well as hold discussions on other regional subjects, the State Department said.

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