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'Wide range' of US responses if Saudis behind journalist death: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pictured October 18, 2018, said the US will "consider a wide range of potential responses", but the important thing is to ensure the facts "come out"
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pictured October 18, 2018, said the US will "consider a wide range of potential responses", but the important thing is to ensure the facts "come out" AFP/File
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Washington (AFP)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Friday of a "wide range" of responses should Washington determine that Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance and apparent death of critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We'll certainly consider a wide range of potential responses, but I think the important thing to do is that the facts come out," Pompeo told Voice of America radio.

The United States is Saudi Arabia's biggest backer and the feared murder of Khashoggi has presented President Donald Trump with one of the most acute foreign policy crises of his nearly two-year-old presidency.

The administration has been notably slow to criticize Saudi Arabia, despite mounting evidence that Khashoggi, a critic of the Islamic petro-state's powerful crown prince, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

However, Trump said for the first time Thursday that Khashoggi was probably dead and warned of a "severe" response.

Pompeo said that during a trip he made this week to meet Saudi leaders in Riyadh, "I made very clear to them that the United States takes this matter very seriously, that we don't approve of extrajudicial killings."

"It is their responsibility as this incident happened in the consulate. It's their responsibility to get to the bottom of this," he told VOA radio.

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