Trump weighs in on Saudi jour­nal­ist

US de­mands an­swers on dis­si­dent who dis­ap­peared in Is­tan­bul

Daily Dispatch - - World News - Fox News at Night,

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day de­manded an­swers from Saudi Ara­bia over the dis­ap­pear­ance of jour­nal­ist and US res­i­dent Ja­mal Khashoggi, whom Turk­ish of­fi­cials sus­pect was mur­dered in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul.

The US sharply upped the pres­sure af­ter an ini­tially lowkey re­sponse when Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­u­tor Khashoggi van­ished on Oc­to­ber 2.

Trump said he had talked “more than once” and “at the high­est lev­els” to part­ners in Saudi Ara­bia, one of Wash­ing­ton’s clos­est al­lies and a key mar­ket for US weapons.

“We’re de­mand­ing ev­ery­thing,” Trump told re­porters. “We can­not let this hap­pen, to re­porters, to any­body.”

On said “it would not be Trump a good thing at all” if the Saudis were proven to be in­volved.

Trump also said he was look­ing into meet­ing in the White House with Khashoggi’s fi­ancee, Hat­ice Cen­giz.

Twenty-two se­na­tors wrote to Trump in­vok­ing the Global Mag­nit­sky Hu­man Rights Ac­count­abil­ity Act, which re­quires the pres­i­dent to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­ter­mine whether sanc­tions should be im­posed. The act is used in cases of sus­pected “ex­tra­ju­di­cial killing, tor­ture, or other gross vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised hu­man rights against an in­di­vid­ual ex­er­cis­ing free­dom of ex­pres­sion”.

Asked in the Fox in­ter­view about sug­ges­tions in Congress that arms sales to the king­dom be blocked, Trump said this would hurt the US econ­omy. “Frankly, I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swal­low for our coun­try,” he said.

Trump spokesper­son Sarah San­ders said na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton, sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo and Trump’s close aide and son-in­law Jared Kush­ner had all spo­ken to Saudi crown prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man.

The US has not con­firmed Turk­ish claims that Khashoggi, an out­spo­ken critic of the Saudi regime, was lured to the Is­tan­bul con­sulate and killed by a team of 15 sent by Riyadh.

But The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported on Wed­nes­day that Prince Mo­hammed him­self had or­dered the op­er­a­tion. Saudi of­fi­cials were heard dis­cussing a plan to lure him from the US and de­tain him, the Post said, cit­ing un­named US of­fi­cials.

“Re­ports about Ja­mal’s fate have sug­gested he was a vic­tim of state-spon­sored, cold-blooded mur­der,” said Post pub­lisher and chief ex­ec­u­tive Fred Ryan.

“Si­lence, de­nials and de­lays are not ac­cept­able. We de­mand to know the truth,” he added.

The case has sparked out­rage from rights groups.

US peace ac­tivists Code Pink mounted a protest in front of the Saudi em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton Wed­nes­day.

“We are very very dis­turbed”, said Code Pink founder Meda Ben­jamin. “We think there is lit­tle hope Ja­mal is still alive.”

Khashoggi, 59, is a long­time former gov­ern­ment ad­viser who went into ex­ile last year.

He has re­peat­edly as­sailed Riyadh’s war against Ye­men’s Huthi rebels, a project of Prince Mo­hammed that has re­sulted in thou­sands of civil­ian deaths and gen­er­ated a ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter. –

We are dis­turbed. We think there is lit­tle hope Ja­mal is still alive.

Pic­ture: REUTERS/MU­RAD SEZER

MISS­ING IN AC­TION: No­bel Peace lau­re­ate Tawakkol Kar­man of Ye­men holds a pic­ture of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi dur­ing a protest out­side the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul this week.

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