Trump to discuss journalist’s disappearance with Saudi king
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.”
FEARED DEAD: Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as general manager of an Arabic news channel in 2014, speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain.