Trump to dis­cuss jour­nal­ist’s dis­ap­pear­ance with Saudi king

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Trump says he will speak with Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man about the dis­ap­pear­ance of jour­nal­ist and U.S. res­i­dent Ja­mal Khashoggi, ramp­ing up pres­sure in the grow­ing in­ter­na­tional scan­dal.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi gov­ern­ment, went miss­ing more than a week ago af­ter en­ter­ing a Saudi con­sulate in Turkey, and Turk­ish of­fi­cials have said they believe he was mur­dered there.

Trump yes­ter­day called it a “se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion” and pledged that the U.S. gov­ern­ment will find out what hap­pened to Khashoggi.

The fi­ancee of the miss­ing Saudi jour­nal­ist had urged the U.S. pres­i­dent to use his clout to find out what hap­pened to her part­ner.

Fol­low­ing a Turk­ish court’s de­ci­sion to free the evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor Andrew Brun­son, Trump tweeted: “Work­ing very hard on Pas­tor (Andrew) Brun­son!”

That prompted Hat­ice Cen­giz to ask about Khashoggi, her miss­ing fi­ancee.

“What about Ja­mal Khashoggi?” she tweeted.

Khashoggi van­ished last week af­ter he walked into the con­sulate in Is­tan­bul to get doc­u­ments he needed to get mar­ried.

Trump had said on Thurs­day that U.S. re­la­tions with Saudi Ara­bia were “ex­cel­lent” and that he didn’t want to scut­tle highly lu­cra­tive arms deals with Riyadh.

Saudi Ara­bia has faced grow­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure, with global busi­ness lead­ers also de­mand­ing ex­pla­na­tions from the Gulf king­dom.

Bri­tish bil­lion­aire Richard Bran­son yes­ter­day sus­pended busi­ness links with Saudi Ara­bia, and Uber CEO Dara Khos­row­shahi said he might not at­tend a ma­jor in­vest­ment con­fer­ence in the coun­try this month.

U.S. of­fi­cials say they are seek­ing an­swers from the Saudi gov­ern­ment, and are not yet ac­cept­ing the Turk­ ish gov­ern­ment’s con­clu­sions.

Trump said Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin will eval­u­ate at a later date whether to at­tend a Saudi in­vestor con­fer­ence later this month. Mnuchin had in­di­cated ear­lier yes­ter­day he still planned to at­tend.

Saudi Ara­bia mean­while wel­comed Turkey’s ap­proval of a Turk­ish­Saudi “joint ac­tion team” to in­ves­ti­gate Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance. The Saudi state­ment on Twit­ter said the king­dom is keen “to sus­tain the se­cu­rity and safety of its cit­i­zenry, wher­ever they might hap­pen to be.” Saudi Ara­bia has called al­le­ga­tions it ab­ducted or harmed Khashoggi “base­less.”

AP FILE PHOTO

FEARED DEAD: Miss­ing jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi, as gen­eral man­ager of an Ara­bic news chan­nel in 2014, speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Manama, Bahrain.

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