'US appointing investigator on Saudi journalist untrue'

12 October, 2018, 04:02 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says UN expert

But the 18 others also signed the letter to send Trump a strong bipartisan message of support for a serious USA response to Khashoggi's disappearance, Senate aides said.

He continued: "Part of that is what we're doing with our defense systems and everybody's wanting them".

"We welcome a thorough and transparent investigation", Nauert said, in response to a reporter's question.

Trump said on Thursday that Washington was looking into the disappearance.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, increased his pressure on the Saudis over Khashoggi's disappearance, local media reported Thursday. I don't like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States, because you know what they're going to do?

Global pressure has mounted on Saudi Arabia, a close US ally and a leading oil exporter, about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who entered the consulate to get documents for his planned marriage. Trump brought Kushner their in his first foreign visit as president, won Saudi support for his push to leave the Iran deal, pushed for low oil prices.

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The US peace group Code Pink mounted a protest in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington Wednesday, brandishing signs saying "Where is Jamal Khashoggi?" and "Khashoggi: Another Victim of Saudi Violence". The intelligence was allegedly gleaned from US intercepts of Saudi officials and interviews with Khashoggi's friends. According to Ankara there is no evidence to show he left the consulate, while Riyadh claims he left the same day. A spokesman for the State Department insisted the US government had "no advance warning" of Khashoggi's disappearance.

The Post, citing anonymous U.S. 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.

Deputy State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said on Wednesday that while he cannot comment on intelligence matters, he could "say definitively the United States had no advance knowledge of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance".

"I'm told that he's headed back to his home country and we expect some information when he gets back", said spokesperson Heather Nauert.

Many lawmakers, including some Republicans, have already questioned US support for Saudi's involvement in Yemen's civil war, which has prompted a humanitarian crisis.

Rand Paul, another member of the committee, called for a halt on US arms sales to Saudi Arabia until Khashoggi is found alive. Trump says: "It would be a very sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future". The uniform nature of these reports and their detailed nature suggest the Turkish government is feeding intelligence reports to the media for publication.

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There is widespread speculation - specially among Turkish officials - that Khashoggi has been assassinated by as many as 15 Saudi operatives who took him into the consulate. Khashoggi contributed columns to the Post, including some critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "I don't trust them one bit".

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi, a critic of Salman who has been living in self-imposed exile in the US, was murdered October 2 inside the consulate when he went there to pick up documents to allow him to marry Cengiz, a Turkish national, or perhaps spirited away to Riyadh.

If the journalist was indeed killed, it is a shocking escalation of Saudi repression and confidence in its ability to ride out the targeting of a widely respected figure, who lived in Washington and wrote for the Washington Post, while he was in Turkey.

The Turkish newspaper also published the names, faces, and years of birth of each of the 15 intelligence team members.

Trump expressed reservations over calls to withhold further USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia, saying such a move "would be hurting us".

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