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USA increases pressure on Saudis over writer's disappearance

12 October, 2018, 03:58 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz

"When I hear of the arrest of a friend who did nothing that (deserved being) arrested, it makes me feel I shouldn't go", he told the BBC.

More than one week after a prominent Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist went missing, President Donald Trump has spoken to Saudi officials "at the highest level" to press them on his disappearance, he said Wednesday.

The Washington Post, citing unnamed us officials, reported on Wednesday night that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the abduction of Khashoggi. "We don't have that information at this point right now". But Riyadh has not offered any evidence to prove its claim that Khashoggi left the consulate alive, even though his fiancee was waiting outside for him.

After Khashoggi's fiance wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, pleading for Trump and his wife Melania's help, the president said that the first lady's office was working on inviting her to the White House.

"Because many believe that it is Trump's kind of special relation with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman which emboldens the latter to execute reckless, irresponsible and risky policies inside Saudi Arabia and outside of it", he said.

Khashoggi's disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. He went to the diplomatic building on October 2 with Cengiz but was not seen after entering it. "And tell us what he knows too", he tweeted last week.

Vice President Mike Pence signals the USA may help investigate the disappearance of the Washington Post contributor and prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country was anxious about Khashoggi's disappearance and can not remain silent, in comments quoted by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.

"I think if we were to have another vote in the next week or two, I think you'd actually get a majority of the Senate who says 'Hey we need to back off, '" he said. Kushner has actively cultivated Mohammed bin Salman as a key ally, praising the young leader, dining with him in Washington and Riyadh and hosting one-on-one phone calls with him outside of normal diplomatic channels.

The Post quoted a Turkish official as saying authorities suspect a 15-member team killed the journalist at the consulate. Saudi power is now more concentrated, more brutal, more impatient, more impetuous - and more confident that it can act as it sees fit thanks to the embrace of Mr Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

"We're demanding everything", Trump said when asked if he was demanding information from the Saudis.

Donald Trump, the United States president, said he had raised Mr Khashoggi's case with Saudi Arabia "at the highest level" and a couple of times in recent days.

Sanders said the administration is pushing for more information on the case, which has sparked outrage from human rights and journalist groups and which threatens to harm Saudi relations with Western allies.

"Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them and frankly, I think that would be very, very tough pill to swallow for our country".

Khashoggi has been missing since last Tuesday after entering the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage. "We don't like it and we're going to get to the bottom", he added. Saudi Arabia gave no official response to the allegation that members of its security services were on the planes.

Trump, however, still described the U.S. -Saudi relationship as being "excellent", and later expressed little interest in canceling or scaling back a massive, $110 billion arms deal with the Kingdom.

Those associations could become a political liability if Prince Mohammed is implicated in Khashoggi's disappearance.

On Trump's first trip overseas as president, he visited Saudi Arabia and announced the massive arms sales package. The intelligence was allegedly gleaned from US intercepts of Saudi officials and interviews with Khashoggi's friends.

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