The Saudi government denies giving the order to kill Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist who had criticized Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.
The US president, Donald Trump , threatened today to Saudi Arabia with a ” severe punishment ” if proven to Saudi agents killed the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an event that the president felt “really terrible and disgusting”.
In an interview with CBS, Trump promised to retaliate against the Saudi government, a traditional ally of Washington in the Middle East, if it is discovered that he ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who was last seen on day 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“We are going to get to the bottom of the matter and there will be a severe punishment,” Trump promised in an excerpt from an interview with the CBS network that will be broadcast full morning.
The president, however, did not specify if his Executive is considering any specific action.
A group of senators, led by Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Robert Menendez, on Wednesday gave Trump a 120-day deadline to decide whether the US should impose sanctions against any Saudi official who may be implicated in the disappearance or death of Khashoggi.
So far, Trump has expressed reluctance to impose sanctions and has not been willing to suspend the sale of arms to the kingdom, the largest client of the US arms industry and that, in 2017 alone, agreed to purchase weapons worth 18,000 million dollars.
Asked about it, Trump explained that other countries, such as Russia and China, have been trying to obtain arms contracts with Saudi Arabia and argued that ending that abundant trade flow could harm the US economy.
“They’re ordering military equipment, everybody wanted that request (from Saudi Arabia), Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it, and we got it, we got everything, and I’ll tell you what we do not want (…) We do not want to hurt the job, we do not want to lose an order like that, “Trump told the journalist who was interviewing him.
“And you know,” he added, “there are other forms of punishment, using a word that’s pretty hard, but it’s true.”
The Saudi government denies giving the order to kill Khashoggi, a journalist who wrote in the Washington Post and who had criticized the current Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman .
However, according to the Post this week, the Turkish government has told US officials that it has videos and audio recordings showing that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by a security team, which subsequently dismembered his body. .
Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi consulate to collect some documents he needed to be able to marry his Turkish girlfriend, who stayed waiting outside the building.
In spite of the refusals of Riyadh, Trump today considered that the Saudi authorities could be behind the alleged crime.
“It is being investigated, it is being analyzed very strongly, and if that were the case, we would be very angry and annoyed, for now, they deny it vehemently, could they be? Yes,” Trump conceded, who later assured: “In a Not too distant future, I think we will know a response. ”
On the other hand, the president, very critical of the American press, considered that the matter is especially serious because he is a journalist.
” Maybe because he was a reporter, I think that’s why there’s a lot at stake here, it’s something that will surprise you if I say, but there’s something very terrible and disgusting about that, if that’s the case. .
Throughout the week, Trump has been hardening his tone about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who resided in the United States.
The president spoke this week about the case with the “highest levels” of the Saudi Executive, and on Friday night, in statements to the press, said he plans to speak “at some time” with King Salman bin Abdelaziz.
Trump faces increasing pressure from members of Congress to modify Washington’s relationship with the Saudi monarchy, questioned by his performance at the helm of a military coalition in the Yemen war.
US lawmakers have increased their criticism of the kingdom after the bombing of August 9 that killed more than 40 children.
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