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Trump says he's pessimistic about fate of Khashoggi

Trump has issued his strongest words against Saudi Arabia on Saturday [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 October, 2018

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Eleven days after Saudi consulate, Jamal Khashoggi has still not been found. Trump has now warned Riyadh there could be consequences if Saudi Arabia is behind his killing.

President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is pessimistic about the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, in the latest comments by the US leader about the missing journalist.

Trump said it is "not looking too good" and that Khashoggi may have been killed, 11 days after the journalist entered the Saudi consulate and never emerged.

Khashoggi was a Washington Post contributor whose writing became more critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been described as Saudi Arabia's defacto ruler.

Khashoggi has been missing since entering the country's consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

"I think we would've known by now. That was our first hope, our first hope was that he was not killed, but maybe that's not looking too good... from what we're hearing," Trump told journalists at the White House.

Ealier Saturday, Trump threatened Saudi Arabia with "severe punishment" if they are responsible for the disappearance and possible murder of Khashoggi.

These were the strongest word from Trump about the disappearance of Khashoggi.

"We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment," Trump told CBS' "60 Minutes" programme.

"As of this moment, they deny it and they deny it vehemently. Could it be them [Saudi Arabia]? Yes."

Trump has been under pressure to speak more strongly about the case, and punish Riyadh if Saudi Arabia was found to have murdered the journalist.

Earlier this week, Trump was criticised by saying he could not justify sacrificing jobs and income generated by arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

"That would not be acceptable," Trump said in the Oval Office. "They are spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs".

The Saudis will "take that money and spend it in Russia or China or someplace else. I think there are other ways. If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling the situation".

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