Image sourced from Heather Nauert's official Twitter account
Image sourced from Heather Nauert's official Twitter account

In Turkey, Pompeo discusses Iranian oil consumption, Khashoggi's disappearance

ANI | Updated: Oct 18, 2018 05:17 IST

Brussels [Belgium], Oct 18 (ANI): United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to discuss a range of issues of bilateral importance.
Pompeo, while interacting with travelling media persons, stated that he had a "good, constructive" conversation with the Turkish President, where the statesmen talked about Iran and the sanctions which are supposed to be levied on the nation. The US Secretary of State outlined how the US would like Turkey to buy "less" Iranian crude oil than they do at the moment and mentioned that working groups have been engaged to cater to the issues surrounding this.
He further said that the return of Pastor Brunson to the US "opens up a lot of opportunities" for US-Turkey relations. He also indicated that there may be "logic" in removing Brunson-related sanctions on Turkey while stating that no final decision has been made.
The two leaders also discussed the Jamal Khashoggi case, during which Erdogan assured Pompeo that Saudi Arabia is cooperating with the investigation that Turkey is engaged in. Erdogan further said that the Turkish side will be sharing the information that they have with the Saudis.
Despite delays from Saudi's end, the Turkish side is confident of their cooperation in the thorough investigation into the missing scribe's case, he added.
However, no new information regarding Khashoggi's case was given out during the US Secretary of State's remarks. Pompeo refused to say anything about whether he knew or if he had heard the alleged audios of Khashoggi's "murder" that Turkish officials claimed to be in possession of, and reserved his comments until the investigation is finished.
"I'm going to be very consistent: We're going to give them the space to complete their investigations of this incident, and when they issue their reports, we'll form our judgment about thoroughness, depth, and the decisions they make about accountability connected to that," was Pompeo's reply to a question put forth by a member from the travelling press.
He outlined that Saudi Arabia and the US shared "important" relationships when asked about the tenor of the private conversations between him and Saudi officials.
"I do think it's important that everyone keep in their mind that we have lots of important relationships - financial relationships between U.S. and Saudi companies, governmental relationships, things we work on together all across the world - efforts to reduce the risk to the United States of America from the world's largest state sponsor of terror, Iran. The Saudis have been great partners in working alongside us on those issues. I could go on about places where the Saudis and the Americans are working together," Pompeo said while stating that the US is going to have to be mindful about "America's best interests" while approaching decisions made by the US government once the findings of the investigation come to light.
Pompeo further refused to speculate and said "if a country engages in an activity that is unlawful, it's unacceptable. No one is going to defend activity of that nature. We'll see what happens," when asked about US' response in case investigations proved Saudi's hand behind the Khashoggi incident.
He further rallied for Saudi Arabia and urged the press to give time to the investigation, which will be evaluated on a "factual, straight-up basis" by the US upon completion.
Pompeo also stated that he had met Jamal Khashoggi's fiance, Hatice Cengiz, and hoped that the investigation wraps up quickly as "sooner is better than later for everyone."
The two sides also talked about issues related to strategic cooperation on systems like S-300 and S-400 between US and Turkey during the meeting held in Ankara. However, Pompeo stated that he had "nothing to add in terms of where we'll go from here".
Pompeo had visited Turkey at the request of US President Donald Trump. His trip to Turkey came right after his visit to Saudi Arabia to meet King Salman and Foreign Minister al-Jubeir in Riyadh, where discussions were held regarding the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (ANI)

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