Wed, 19 Dec 2018
41
Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump said he spoke with a senior Saudi leader about Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident journalist and Washington Post contributor who disappeared from a Saudi consulate in Turkey last week.

'It's a very sad situation. It's a very bad situation,' Trump said, speaking in the Oval Office. 'We cannot let this happen, to reporters, to anybody.'

'I think we'll get to the bottom of it,' he added.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi monarchy, went missing on October 2 after visiting the Istanbul Consulate to complete paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Saudi Arabia said Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after going in and has denied an allegation by some Turkish authorities that the journalist was killed inside.

Trump did not say whether he personally spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The White House later said that national security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had spoken with the crown prince on October 9, seeking more information.

'In both calls, they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process,' White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Earlier on October 10, Turkish state broadcaster TRT published video showing Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Other footage purportedly shows Saudi aircraft and agents arriving in Istanbul.

Pro-government newspaper Sabah said the Saudi 'assassination squad' arrived in the Turkish city on board two private jets the day Khashoggi went missing.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders called for an independent international investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, dpa, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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