Trump wary of halting Saudi arms sales over journalist

By: Reuters |

Published: October 12, 2018 8:00:39 am

US President Donald Trump. US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump stated on Thursday that he noticed no motive to chop off arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a result of of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, probably establishing a conflict with the US Congress.

Trump additionally stated the United States could also be nearer to discovering out what occurred to Khashoggi, a distinguished critic of Saudi insurance policies who was final seen getting into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Turkish sources have stated they imagine Khashoggi was killed contained in the constructing and his physique eliminated, allegations that Riyadh dismisses as baseless.

In an indication Turkey and Saudi Arabia is perhaps on the lookout for a approach ahead, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to kind a joint working group to research the case, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu information company quoted presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin as saying.

Turkish investigators had been ready to enter the consulate, a Turkish safety official advised Reuters, however had been awaiting remaining authorization from the Saudis.

Speaking to reporters, Trump stated he noticed no motive to dam Saudi purchases of US arms or its investments within the United States regardless of the journalist’s case, saying the Gulf nation would simply transfer its cash into Russia and China.

“They’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs … for this country. 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? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China or someplace else,” he stated.

His feedback prompted pushback from members of the US Senate, together with from some of his fellow Republicans, many of whom signed a letter on Wednesday forcing his administration to research Khashoggi’s disappearance and paving the way in which to doable sanctions on Saudi officers.

“If it’s found that they murdered a journalist, that will hugely change our relationship,” Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advised reporters. “There will have to be significant sanctions placed at the highest levels.”

The Khashoggi incident may make it very laborious for the Trump administration to win congressional approval for arms sales to the Saudis. Many lawmakers, together with some Republicans, have already questioned US assist for Saudi’s involvement in Yemen’s civil conflict, which has prompted a humanitarian disaster.

Under US legislation, main overseas sales of navy tools may be blocked by Congress. There can also be a casual course of by which key lawmakers can put “holds” on arm sales.

Trump, who sealed a $110 billion deal for US firms to promote arms to Saudi Arabia on his first overseas journey as president in May 2017, stated Washington was wanting into the disappearance and dealing with Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

“We’re looking at it very strongly. We’ll be having a report out soon,” he stated.

Separately, the US State Department spokeswoman stated the Saudi ambassador to Washington was heading again to the dominion and the United States had advised him, “We expect information upon his return.”


Global stress has mounted on Saudi Arabia, a US ally and main oil exporter, concerning the disappearance of Khashoggi, who entered the consulate to get paperwork for his deliberate marriage. His Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who waited exterior, stated he by no means re-appeared.

In an Arabic-language tweet on Thursday, Cengiz wrote of her anguish, saying, “It’s as if I’m living between life and death, between sky and land, between heaven and hell … I die everyday a thousand times.”

In an interview with the Fox News “Fox & Friends” program, Trump stated the United States was working with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, including, “We have investigators over there.”

However, three US legislation enforcement sources stated that as a result of Khashoggi shouldn’t be an American citizen and disappeared exterior the nation, the FBI has no computerized jurisdiction to get entangled within the case and will solely turn into concerned if requested by a overseas authorities equivalent to Turkey.

Senior US officers, together with Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concerning the disappearance.

Trump made Saudi Arabia his first overseas cease as president however in current weeks has appeared to bitter a bit on Riyadh, complaining about the associated fee of American assist for the Saudi navy and about oil value will increase.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated his nation was anxious about Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“We are investigating all aspects of the event. It is not possible for us to remain silent regarding such an occurrence, because it is not a common occurrence,” he stated in feedback quoted by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.

He additionally questioned Saudi assertions that the consulate doesn’t have footage of Khashoggi leaving as a result of the mission’s safety cameras solely present reside footage and don’t file photographs.

“Is it possible for there to be no camera systems at the Saudi Arabia consulate, where the event took place?,” he stated.

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