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Saudi Hollywood deal hit by Khashoggi disappearance

16 October, 2018, 13:57 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Saudi Arabia told to investigate disappearance of missing journalist

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it", Trump told reporters Monday. Trump's comments followed a phone call with King Salman in which Trump said he strongly denied any knowledge of what happened to the journalist.

"I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!"

The head of Hollywood's most powerful talent agency said he is "really concerned" and "upset" about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi amid reports Tuesday that it jeopardises a US$400 million deal with the kingdom.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, also said the kingdom is weighing whether to say that rogue operatives killed Khashoggi by mistake during an interrogation.

Turkish police are to search the Saudi consul's residence in Istanbul over the disappearance and alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

King Salman emphasised the importance of the Turkey-Saudi relationship and said no-one should be able to "undermine the strength of this relationship", Saudi's official media reported.

Saudi Arabia had on Saturday dismissed accusations that Khashoggi was ordered murdered by a hit squad inside its Istanbul consulate, labelling it as "lies and baseless allegations".

Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate the day he disappeared, tweeted a Koranic verse warning those who kill on goal, with the hashtag "Jamal is the Martyr of the Word".

Foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa tweeted two hashtags calling for a boycott of Uber in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as a broader hashtag urging followers to "boycott anyone who boycotts Saudi Arabia". That potentially offers the USA -allied kingdom a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.

Such an extraordinary search of a diplomatic post - considered foreign soil under global law - perhaps represents new cooperation between Turkey and its fellow Sunni Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Crown Prince Mohammed had approved interrogating or even forcing Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia under duress.

"We are sadly and anxiously following the conflicting news regarding the fate of our father after losing contact with him two weeks ago", they said. But, he said, the Saudi intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself in secretive operations.

Trump has threatened the kingdom with "severe punishment" if it is shown that Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul mission.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington also canceled its National Day party, which was scheduled for Thursday.

Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post opinion pages. Trump has repeatedly said he does not want to risk what he claims is $110 billion in arms sales to the Saudis. The kingdom could tame oil prices if they were to hit $100 per barrel as some analysts have forecast with the onset of United States sanctions against Iran on November 4. But Trump was already facing pressure from some in Congress to respond to the Saudis with economic sanctions.

The Saudi authorities "have at their disposal tens of options [to retaliate]", said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political science professor at the UAE University. Prince Mohammed told Reuters past year that Blackstone and BlackRock Inc were planning to open offices in the kingdom. The columnist is one of the best-known news-media personalities in the kingdom and has been a confidant to several previous kings and princes.

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