Trump 'immediately' sending Pompeo to meet with Saudi king over missing activist

15 October, 2018, 20:27 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Women gather for a rally and march at Chicago's Grant Park to inspire voter turnout ahead of November's midterm election. Kamil Krzaczynski AFP

Saudi Arabia warned Sunday it will respond to any "threats" against it as its stock market plunged following President Donald Trump's warning of "severe punishment" over the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials say that they believe Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi after he entered the consulate and that Turkey has audio and video recordings of it.

Khashoggi, a US resident and critic of Riyadh's policies, disappeared on October 2 after entering his country's diplomatic mission in Istanbul.

The kingdom has maintained the allegations against it are "baseless", though an official early on Saturday acknowledged for the first time some believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by the kingdom.

The kingdom's warning was not only a response to Trump, but also targeted at United States decision-makers amid rising calls for Congress to step in and put key arms sales on hold, he said.

"That meeting ....is about terrorists' financing and how to stop it - it's a very important meeting", Kudlow said.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the USA economically.

In excerpts of a new interview, Trump said that the incident is being investigated and that the Saudis deny any involvement, despite the mounting evidence that the Saudi regime was implicated in Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2.

"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures or repeating false accusations", the statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency read.

What did happen to Jamal Khashoggi, according to the king?


Trump added, "We're going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment".

Rubio said U.S. -Saudi relations may need to be "completely revised" and stressed the U.S. would lose credibility on human rights if the Trump administration remained silent.

President Trump warned the USA would inflict "severe punishment" if Saudi Arabia was behind his disappearance.

The flurry of activity on the Saudi side came after two weeks of little action from Riyadh and followed a phone call on Sunday between King Salman and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey.

"Nobody knows yet, but we'll probably be able to find out".

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family, but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile.

The Saudi Gazette trumpeted: "Enough Is Enough", while the Arab News said: "Saudi Arabia "will not be bullied".

Foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa tweeted two hashtags calling for a boycott of Uber in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as a broader hashtag urging followers to "boycott anyone who boycotts Saudi Arabia".

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his counterparts from France and Germany, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, said they have "grave concerns" about the situation.

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