The son of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi has left Saudi Arabia after the kingdom revoked a travel ban, allowing him to come to the United States the latest in the saga of the Saudi writer and dissident whose macabre killing earlier this month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul shocked the world.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said Washington welcomes the decision to have Salah Khashoggi and his family leave Saudi Arabia. His US destination was not immediately known but his late father lived in the Washington area.
Palladino said on Thursday, October 25 that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had discussed Jamal Khashoggi's son during his recent visit to Riyadh and "made it clear" to Saudi leaders that Washington wanted him free to leave the kingdom.
"We are pleased that he is now able to do so," Palladino said. Saudi media had showed Khashoggi's son meeting on Tuesday with the crown prince, who reportedly expressed his condolences.
Palladino also said Pompeo attended a briefing on the former Washington Post writer's death by CIA Director Gina Haspel, following her return from Turkey. The White House did not release any details of their meeting.
The developments came after the kingdom on Thursday, October 25 cited evidence showing Khashoggi's killing was premeditated, changing its story again to try to ease international outrage over the slaying of a prominent critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The announcement contradicted an earlier Saudi assertion that rogue officials from the kingdom had killed Khashoggi by mistake in a brawl inside their Istanbul consulate.
At a conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, October 24 the crown prince said the killing was a "heinous crime that cannot be justified" and warned against any efforts to "manipulate" the crisis and drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which are regional rivals but also diplomatic and business partners.
On Thursday, October 25 Prince Mohammed attended the first meeting of a committee aiming to restructure the kingdom's intelligence services after the killing of Khashoggi, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.
Khashoggi's death has derailed the powerful prince's campaign to project a modern image of the ultraconservative country, instead highlighting the brutal lengths to which some top officials in the government have gone to silence its critics. Khashoggi, who lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly a year before his death, had written critically of Prince Mohammed's crackdown on dissent.