US's Pompeo to visit Panama, Mexico to discuss Venezuela, other issues

WION Web Team Mexico Oct 17, 2018, 07.55 PM(IST)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photograph:( Reuters )

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Panama and Mexico this week to meet with top leaders and discuss "defending democracy in Venezuela and Nicaragua," aong other regional issues, the US Department of State said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pompeo will meet with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela in Panama City on Thursday and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday, among other top officials, the department said, adding that immigration, narcotic drugs and terrorism will also be discussed.

Pompeo met Turkey's President and Foreign Minister on Wednesday to discuss the disappearance of a Saudi journalist as pressure mounted on the kingdom to provide answers following Turkish allegations he was killed.

US President Donald Trump gave Saudi Arabia the benefit of the doubt on Tuesday even as US lawmakers pointed the finger at the Saudi leadership and Pompeo, sent by Trump to address the crisis, discussed the affair with Saudi King Salman and his Crown Prince on a visit to Riyadh.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Pompeo would provide information about the case after Khashoggi, a US resident, vanished during a visit to the consulate on Oct. 2 to collect marriage documents.

Turkish police on Wednesday began a search at the residence of the Saudi consul to Istanbul, in the investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in the city, according to an AFP correspondent.

A team of a dozen police and prosecutors, including forensics experts in white overalls, entered the residence of Mohammed al-Otaibi, a day after he flew out of Istanbul for Riyadh.

Earlier in the day, a Saudi delegation had also arrived at the building to take part in what is presented as a joint search with their Turkish counterparts.

Turkish police had on Monday searched the consulate building itself for over eight hours, taking away soil and DNA samples for further examination.

Khashoggi, a former regime insider who became critical of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wrote articles for titles including the Washington Post. He has not been seen since he stepped inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed there although this has not been confirmed by Saudi Arabia.