Pompeo listened to an alleged recording of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

While earlier in the week the president questioned whether the audio recording existed and cautioned against blaming Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's disappearance, on Thursday afternoon his administration abruptly canceled a visit to Saudi Arabia by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to attend a large investment conference hosted by the Crown Prince, whom Turkish officials have reportedly claimed was behind Khashoggi's killing. In an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, Trump based his acknowledgment that Khashoggi was dead on intelligence reports. "But we'll see what happens".

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said secretary-general Guterres remains very concerned about Khashoggi's fate and "has repeatedly called for the truth to come out in this situation".

Mahoney said Khashoggi's disappearance has generated greater "horror" and more worldwide press coverage than he has seen in many, many years.

Turkish police believe Mr Khashoggi's killers may have dumped his remains in Belgrad Forest, next to Istanbul, and near the rural city of Yalova, 90 kilometres (55 miles) away from the Turkish capital, senior officials have said.

Earlier on Thursday, Pompeo said he told Trump that the United States should give the Saudis "a few more days" to complete their investigation into Khashoggi's case "so we can get a complete understanding" of the facts. "But we'll see what happens", Trump told reporters when asked what would be the consequences of such an unfortunate incident.

But Pompeo also stressed the "long strategic relationship" that the USA has with Saudi Arabia, and described the country as an "important counter-terrorism supporter".

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Although Pompeo suggested the USA could wait longer for results, an official familiar with his meetings in Riyadh and Ankara said the secretary had been blunt about the need to wrap the probe up quickly.

Donald Trump admitted it's likely a missing Saudi journalist is dead - and has warned punishment "will be very severe" for those responsible.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin abandoned plans to attend an October 23-25 investor conference in Riyadh as did executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., putting the high-profile event in question.

Officials from a joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case early Thursday after searching the residence as well as the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The same man wore lapel pins, including one of the flags of Saudi Arabia and America intertwined, that other bodyguards accompanying the crown prince wore on the trip.

But Pompeo, "who smiled broadly as he greeted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appeared less intent on determining the truth than in helping the de facto Saudi ruler escape from the crisis he triggered", said the Post. Khashoggi went to the consulate seeking documents for his planned marriage to his Turkish fiancee, who was waiting outside, and was never seen again.

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