Saudi explanation of Khashoggi death credible, says Trump
20 October, 2018, 10:59 | Author: Myra Gill
The Saudis have dismissed those reports as baseless, but have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically of Prince Mohammed's rise to power.
"I do, I do", Trump said when asked if the Saudis' explanation was credible, while adding: "It's early, we haven't finished our review or investigation".
The monarch also relieved deputy intelligence chief General Ahmed al-Assiri and ordered the formation of a committee headed by Prince Mohammed to restructure the kingdom's intelligence agency.
Trump said after signing a presidential memo in Arizona on Friday that he would involve Congress in any decision. The statement also did not shed any light on what happened to Khashoggi's body after his death.
The episode had threatened to create a diplomatic crisis with the U.S., which sees its alliance with Riyadh as the cornerstone of its Middle East policy, and Turkey, which has tenuous ties with Saudi Arabia. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up a document he needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.
"God have mercy on you my love Jamal, and may you rest in Paradise", Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, tweeted following the Saudi announcements.
Trump has sent mixed messages about Khashoggi for days, vowing a severe response but also saying that the United States wants to preserve its close relationship with the conservative kingdom.
"I think President Trump and his ministerial team are waking up to just how unsafe it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States", Sawers said.
In the announcement on Saudi State TV, it said a royal order has been issued to release Maj.
Saudi officials confirmed the death of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi this evening, announced in dead of night, Saudi time. The country's intelligence chief is sacked and so is an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
"The termination of the two officials was done by the king, not his heir apparent, the crown prince, which could be an indication the aging monarch is cleaning up an extremely ugly mess created by the younger man."
Turkish government sources have alleged Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the prince and the Saudi government, was tortured and murdered and by a hit squad flown in from Riyadh.
The president added that there were "other things" the USA could do that wouldn't involve jeopardizing economic deals with Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, the White House "deepest" condolences to Khashoggi's family, fiancé and friends.
Authorities said 18 Saudi suspects were in custody for his killing and intelligence officials had been fired.
Turkish authorities were quick to allege Saudi Arabia's involvement in the writer's sudden disappearance, and it soon emerged they believed he had been brutally dismembered using a so-called "bone saw". The country has always maintained that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive after his meeting with the officials.
As the rhetoric escalates, top businesses begin to withdraw from the Davos in the Desert summit, which is meant to attract foreign investment to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there would be "consequences" that would affect British-Saudi ties if Khashoggi was murdered in a brutal way in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
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Pompeo appeared guarded when questioned on the U.S. response to the incident, following criticism of Washington's soft line. Trump said he hopes the Saudis' own investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance will be concluded in "less than a week".
Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed. He has not been seen since October 2, when he went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to attain documents he needed to remarry.
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