US seeks answers about missing journalist from Saudi ally

US seeks answers about missing journalist from Saudi ally

More than one week after a prominent Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist went missing, President Donald Trump has spoken to Saudi officials "at the highest level" to press them on his disappearance, he said Wednesday.

The newspaper, where Mr Khashoggi wrote columns critical of the Saudi government, said U.S. intelligence had intercepted communications showing Saudi officials were trying to lure the journalist back to his homeland so they could arrest him.

"We don't know what happened", he said.

Trump said the U.S. is doing well economically in part due to "what we are doing with our defense systems", and said, "frankly I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country".

Britain's foreign secretary warned that Saudi Arabia faces "serious consequences" if the suspicions of Turkish officials that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul turn out to be true.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a longtime critic of the Saudi government, has said he'll try to force a vote in the Senate blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia. And we will get to the bottom of it.

On Tuesday, The New York Times first reported that Turkish officials believed Khashoggi was assassinated under orders from senior members of the Saudi royal court.

Khashoggi called the consulate and was told "that documents are being prepared" and he could come to the consulate.

"Is it possible for there to be no camera systems at the Saudi Arabia consulate, where the event took place?", Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

The Dow tumbles more than 400 points
Asian markets were broadly lower on Thursday after Wall Street slumped on a heavy selling of technology and internet stocks. At 12:44 p.m., the Nikkei 225 average traded at 22,496.24, down 1,009.80 points, or 4.30 percent, from Wednesday's closing.

It gives the White House 120 days to "determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression" and to report back to the Foreign Relations Committee with a decision on how it plans to act.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday evening that United States intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Mr Khashoggi.

But Turkish officials declined to go on record as Turkey tries to manage its hard relationship with regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, denied reports that Riyadh had Khashoggi killed.

Human rights activists hold pictures of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 9, 2018. Neoconservative Francis Fukuyama also echoed the demand of many progressive critics by demanding president's son-in-law and top Middle East advisor Jared Kushner, use his cozy relationship with MbS to get answers.

A former Saudi government advisor, Khashoggi has been openly critical of Prince Mohammed, accusing him of introducing a new era of "fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming". It was not clear whether the Saudis meant to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the United States warned Khashoggi that he was a target, this person said. "We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before", Trump said.

However, they still have to be mindful of the need for Saudi cooperation on USA foreign policy goals, including Middle East peace, oil supplies, and missile defense system sales, analysts said.

He has also repeatedly assailed Riyadh's role leading the war against Yemen's rebel Houthis, a campaign closely identified with Prince Mohammed that has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and generated a major humanitarian disaster.

Turkey on Monday conveyed its expectation of "full cooperation" from Saudi Arabia in the search for the missing journalist.

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