Son of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has left Saudi Arabia, say sources

Mr Salah Khashoggi (left) meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Oct 23, 2018.
Mr Salah Khashoggi (left) meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Oct 23, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The eldest son of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi arrived in Washington with his family from Saudi Arabia on Thursday (Oct 25), according to two sources close to the family, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed for his return.

Mr Salah Khashoggi, who holds dual United States-Saudi citizenship and had thus far been under a travel ban, departed Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

He and his family joined his mother and his three siblings in Washington, said the sources, both speaking on condition of anonymity.

Several hours after their arrival, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino disclosed that Mr Pompeo told Saudi leaders in Riyadh earlier this month that "he wanted Salah Khashoggi returned to the United States".

"We are pleased that is the case," Mr Palladino said, reiterating that the US is continuing to press for "all the relevant facts" in the killing of Mr Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.

"We intend to consult with Congress and to work with other nations to hold accountable those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," said Mr Palladino.

The Saudi public prosecutor on Thursday said the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was premeditated, revising previous statements that his death was unintended.

Mr Salah Khashoggi's departure from Saudi Arabia came a day after a meeting at the al Yamama Palace in Riyadh, in which he and other family members received condolences from King Salman and the crown prince.

Turkish officials and some US lawmakers allege that the crown prince ordered the operation in which Mr Jamal Khashoggi killed.

A photograph of the meeting published by the official Saudi Press Agency showed Mr Salah Khashoggi staring coldly at the prince as the pair shook hands.