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Trump: CONCERNED ABOUT SAUDI JOURNALIST

2018-10-09 18:56
The U.S. state department has called on Saudi Arabia to conduct a "thorough" probe into the mysterious disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—whose case sparked international concern over the kingdom's apparent crackdown on dissent. Khashoggi, a regime critic and prominent journalist in Saudi Arabia, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Officials in Turkey believe he was murdered inside the building, while the Saudis claim he left the building unharmed. Khashoggi is also a Washington Post contributor. In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Saudi government to be "transparent" about the results of any investigation. "We have seen conflicting reports on the safety and whereabouts of prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi," Pompeo said in an Oct. 8 statement. "‎As the President has conveyed, the United States is concerned by his disappearance." Pompeo noted that senior officials in the state department have spoken with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels regarding the case. "We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation," he said. Khashoggi had entered the consulate to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. The government of Saudi has repeatedly claimed that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, but his fiancee who was waiting outside said he never appeared. President Donald Trump also publicly expressed concern over the reports surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance. "I am concerned about it. I don't like hearing about it," Trump told reporters at the White House on Oct. 8. "Hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now nobody knows anything about it." Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia last year, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent. Several news organizations have cited anonymous Turkish officials claiming that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate in a pre-meditated murder. Saudi officials have denied those allegations. Vice President Mike Pence echoed the president's remarks and said the international community "deserves answers." "Deeply troubled to hear reports about Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. If true, this is a tragic day," Pence wrote on Twitter. "Violence against journalists across the globe is a threat to freedom of the press & human rights." At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to prove their claims that Khashoggi left the consulate safely. “We have to get an outcome from this investigation as soon as possible. The consulate officials cannot save themselves by simply saying ‘he has left,'” Erdogan told a news conference in Budapest, where he is on an official visit. Erdogan, who said he was personally following the case, added that Turkey had no documents or evidence regarding the case. Khashoggi is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks and used to advise Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States and Britain. Reuters contributed to this report.  From The Epoch Times