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Thu 7 Nov 2019 07:31 PM

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Saudi king hosts CIA chief Gina Haspel for talks

Meeting takes place after three people were charged in the US with spying on Twitter users

Saudi king hosts CIA chief Gina Haspel for talks

Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted the Central Intelligence Agency's director Thursday, state media said, after three people were charged in the US with spying on Twitter users critical of the royal family.

The king and Gina Haspel "discussed a number of topics of mutual interest", the official Saudi Press Agency said, without offering details.

The meeting in Riyadh was attended by a number of Saudi officials including Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and intelligence chief Khalid al-Humaidan.

Haspel's visit comes after a US court on Wednesday charged three people, including two Saudis, with spying on Twitter users critical of the kingdom's royal family.

The trio -- including two former Twitter employees -- allegedly worked to unmask the ownership details behind dissident Twitter accounts on behalf of someone prosecutors designated "Royal Family Member-1".

The Washington Post reported the latter to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler.

Ties between firm allies Washington and Riyadh have been strained over the murder last year of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.