The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains one of the US' most important allies in implementing Washington's strategy on Iran, but that does not mean that the disappearance of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi won't be addressed, a senior Trump administration official told reporters on Tuesday.
"All of our regional partners are extremely important to that effort, Saudis are one important component that we have… But it does not mean we ignore all other issues," they said when asked about US-Saudi relations on implementing the Iran strategy amid the scrutiny over Khashoggi's disappearance.
The official added that while Trump administration stands completely united in calling for an investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, it also enjoys a significant relationship with Riyadh.
"We are, I think, completely unified in this administration about calling for an investigation into this. We need to get the facts of what happened," the official said as quoted by Reuters. "Of course… we have a longstanding relationship that is very significant to us, but that doesn't mean we're in any way ignoring or downplaying this episode."
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a meeting with Saudi King Salman and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who agreed on the need for a "thorough" investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, spokesperson for the State Department Heather Nauert noted in a statement.
Pompeo also thanked King Salman for his commitment to a transparent investigation into the case.
Jamal Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia's policies, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a marriage document, as reported by Turkish media. The Saudi authorities said that the journalist left the consulate on the same day that he arrived.
After Ankara claimed that Khashoggi could’ve been arrested or even killed while inside the diplomatic mission, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman replied that Turkish authorities could search the Consulate General building if necessary.