President Trump's suggestion that "rogue killers" may be responsible for Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance suggests he may let Saudi Arabia off the hook for another violation, said Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.
Word of the Saudi plan comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flies to Riyadh to meet with Saudi King Salman about the disappearance.
However, unconfirmed reports in the U.S. media suggest Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong and that the original intention had been to abduct him. Among other things, Turkish officials have said, an autopsy specialist carrying a bone saw was among 15 Saudi operatives who flew in and out of Istanbul the day Khashoggi disappeared.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, left, chats with his son and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 8, 2017.
There are already calls, most notably on Monday by Bahrain's top diplomat and UAE businessmen to boycott U.S. companies like Uber whose chief executive pulled out of the upcoming Saudi investment conference.
Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene joined the increasing list of prominent US technology and business executives distancing themselves from the Saudi Arabian government's Future Investment Initiative, an event that has been overshadowed by reports of the government's role in executing a journalist. They provided no further details.
The journalist was a one-time Saudi royal family insider turned critic who left the nation past year and began writing pieces for The Washington Post.
Prince Mohammed, 33, a son of King Salman, consolidated his control in June 2017 when he was named Crown Prince to replace his cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was sacked. "He didn't really know, maybe - I don't want to get into his mind but it sounded to me - maybe these could have been rogue killers". That potentially offers the US -allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm. Some of the lawmakers criticized Trump for such a statement.
Prince Harry and Meghan touch down in Sydney for Invictus Games
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are believed to have touched down in Sydney early on a drizzly Sydney morning. The royal couple have 76 engagements across Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand as part of the tour.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he still plans to attend but would "take (it)... into account" if more information came out. But, he said, the Saudi intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself in secretive operations. United States lawmakers have been demanding to scrap the $110 billion mega defence deal with the Saudis, whereas heads of several companies, CEOs, newspapers have announced not to attend an upcoming finance conference in Saudi Arabia. He was an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime, and was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
People walk past the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 7, 2018.
"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be difficult" the Turkish official said.
King Salman ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case.
The possible curtailment of production by Saudi Arabia, which has in recent months boosted its exports to the U.S., partly in response to Mr Trump's calls to slow the oil price rally will come amid declining supply from Iran.
Khashoggi, a familiar face on Arab talk shows, moved to Washington previous year fearing retribution for his criticism of Prince Mohammed, who has cracked down on dissent with arrests.
The Saudi consulate referred Reuters to authorities in Riyadh, who did not respond to questions about the 15 Saudis.
Great Britain, France and Germany also vowed retaliation.
Concern over Khashoggi's disappearance has seen media organisations and a growing number of guests pull out of a "Davos in the Desert" investment conference set for October 23-25, which has become the biggest show for investors to promote Prince Mohammed's reform vision. Pointing out that Russia and China were ready to step in, he added that "no one can deny that repercussions of these sanctions will include a Russian military base in Tabuk, northwest of Saudi Arabia, in the heated four corners of Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq".