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IPFS News Link • Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia transfers $100 million to U.S. on day of Pompeo visit to discuss missing journalist

• Chicago Tribune

The United States received a payment of $100 million from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh to discuss the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a State Department official confirmed Wednesday amid global calls for answers in the case.

Saudi Arabia publicly pledged the payment to support U.S. stabilization efforts in northeastern Syria in August, but questions persisted about when and if Saudi officials would come through with the money.

The timing of the transfer, first reported by The New York Times, raised questions about a potential payoff as Riyadh seeks to manage the blowback over allegations that Saudi agents were responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance. The State Department denied any connection between the payment and Pompeo's discussions with Saudi officials about Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist.

"We always expected the contribution to be finalized in the fall time frame," Brett McGurk, the State Department's envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, said in a statement. "The specific transfer of funds has been long in process and has nothing to do with other events or the secretary's visit."

Saudi Arabia, an oil rich monarchy and staunch U.S. ally, has long relied on its financial largesse to persuade partners to support its foreign policy objectives. Western diplomats suspect that the kingdom will also compensate Turkey for its willingness to launch a joint investigation on Khashoggi's disappearance - a payback that could come in the form of large-scale debt relief, strategic buyouts or other arrangements that boost Turkey's ailing economy.

Khashoggi's disappearance has hurt the reputation of Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, whose close relationship with President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has put him at the center of the administration's Middle East policy.

Turkish authorities say Khashoggi was killed Oct. 2 during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document required to get married.


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