Saudi Arabia rejects 'threats' after Trump comments on missing journalist

by Ben Pena October 15, 2018, 11:30
Saudi Arabia rejects 'threats' after Trump comments on missing journalist

The president has said the USA will inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the death of Mr Khashoggi.

Describing the disappearance as a "terrible thing", Trump said the United States would find out what happened to Khashoggi.

The trilateral message had been conveyed "directly to the Saudi authorities", said the statement signed by Britain's foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and Germany's Heiko Maas.

Turkish investigators said that they believe Khashoggi had been killed by a 15-member "hit squad" and that audio and video recordings prove it.

Earlier on Sunday, the Saudi stock market plunged almost seven percent amid fears of imminent sanctions by the USA after President Donald Trump threatened a severe punishment if the kingdom was found responsible for the journalist's disappearance.

Senators from both sides of the aisle have called for an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, and some have suggested they would be willing to block the Saudi arms deal if more damaging details come to light.

Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi government, vanished last week in Istanbul, Turkey, after entering the Saudi consulate there.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident, has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get documentation he needed in order to marry his fiancée.

Speaking on Saturday in London, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said "Saudi Arabia should be cooperating" by giving Turkish prosecutors and experts access to the consulate, regretting that the cooperation had so far fallen short of what Turkey expected.

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Saudi Arabia Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European and USA allies piled on pressure.

Trump has praised the Saudi regime for cracking down on opponents and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has personal ties to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mnuchin's wavering, which was reported by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, was part of an ambivalent response by the Trump administration to claims by Turkish officials that a team of Saudi assassins killed and dismembered Khashoggi.

"He is being outdone by Donald Trump, whoever would have thought that?" she said on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show.

He said any response to Khashoggi's killing "needs to be strong, not symbolic", including the possibility of cutting off US weapons sales to Riyadh, or it would undermine the U.S.'s moral standing in the world.

President Trump has said "we would be punishing ourselves" by canceling arm sales.

Trump has said he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia because, he maintained, it would harm USA manufacturers.

The American daily further reported that USA intelligence had intercepted communications between Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to the kingdom and detain him.

Citing an "official source", the Saudi Press Agency added that Riyadh "affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it".

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