Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump raises economic concerns over halting Saudi arms sales

Trump raises economic concerns over halting Saudi arms sales

Asked about a Washington Post report that US intelligence had intercepted top Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi, Trump told Fox, "It would be a very sad thing".

Turkish officials privately believe he was killed at the consulate, an allegation denied by Saudi Arabia.The official said it is unclear if the original plan was to murder Khashoggi or if something went wrong at the consulate and that he might have been killed during an attempt to kidnap him.

Khashoggi, a journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get documents for his marriage.

In his columns for the Washington Post and comments elsewhere, Khashoggi was critical of some policies of Mohammed Salman as well as Riyadh's role in the war in Yemen.

But Turkish government sources said police believe Khashoggi was killed by an assassination team sent to Istanbul.

"[The] Saudi authorities said they were open to cooperation and that a search can be conducted at the consulate building", the ministry's spokesperson, Hami Aksoy, said in a statement, adding that the search will be conducted in "an intensive manner".

Turkish officials have said he was murdered there, while Saudi Arabia says he safely left the building. It's unclear when such a search would take place.

The request was made after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, NTV said.

"That would be a very sad thing and we'll probably know in the very short future", Trump said.

Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate on October 2 with his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, but was not seen after entering the diplomatic building. Bob Corker, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed US intelligence on the case, said it was likely that Khashoggi was killed the day he walked into the consulate.

He said they were made in NY, but gave no details about who was involved.

The interview briefly touched on the Khashoggi case, with the crown prince stating he had no knowledge of the journalist's fate or whereabouts and that he had left the Istanbul consulate.

"Those who ask Turkish authorities where he is should first be asking 'how did this happen?'" Erdogan said during a press briefing in Hungary.

A former editor of the al-Watan newspaper and a short-lived Saudi TV news channel, Mr Khashoggi was for years seen as close to the Saudi royal family. "We want to find out what happened", Trump told the morning news program Fox & Friends. The Post, citing anonymous US officials familiar with the intelligence, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him. Mr Khashoggi, 59, has more than 1.6 million Twitter followers and has written for the Washington Post opinion section.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he has a call in to Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who has appealed to the president and first lady Melania Trump for help.

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