Friday, 16 November, 2018

Trump says 'rogue killers' may be behind Khashoggi disappearance

Riyadh threatens retaliation for 'actions' against it over missing journalist The flag of Saudi Arabia flies in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul
Freda Brock | 16 October, 2018, 03:29

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Monday (Oct 15) ordered an internal probe into the unexplained disappearance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen on Oct 2.

President Donald Trump said he spoke to Saudi Arabia's King Salman and that he "denies any knowledge" about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who has been living in the U.S. "I am immediately sending our Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) to meet with King!"

In a statement Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the examination would be carried out in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul regarding Khashoggi's disappearance and that the Saudi authorities were open to cooperation.

Turkish authorities have told USA officials that they have recordings from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that prove Khashoggi was killed inside, officials told NBC News.

When pushed on what King Salman thinks happened, Mr Trump said: "He didn't really know".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz discussed the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi In a phone call on Sunday night. He said any response to Khashoggi's killing "needs to be strong, not symbolic", including the possibility of cutting off US weapons sales to Riyadh, or it would undermine the USA moral standing in the world. A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the building - the last place Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on October 2.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Rubio: Trump must respond with 'more than words' over Jamal Khashoggi
Trump made a point of visiting the kingdom on his first overseas trip as president and has touted arms sales to Saudi Arabia. It also warned that "the kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy".

This time, however, it acknowledged for the first time that Saudi Arabia was accused of killing Mr Khashoggi.

Asked when the public prosecutor could make an announcement about the investigation, the official said: "He was instructed to work quickly".

"The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, [and] that the Kingdom's economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy", it continued.

Other executives such as Ford Motor Chairman Bill Ford and Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi also won't attend the conference, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Rubio said U.S. -Saudi relations may need to be "completely revised" and stressed the U.S. would lose credibility on human rights if the Trump administration remained silent.

The crown prince, ambitious, aggressive and just 33 in a kingdom long ruled by aging monarchs, has considerable weight in Saudi government actions.

"We can confirm. that Jamie will not be attending the Saudi event", a JP Morgan spokesperson said in an email to the BBC on Monday.

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