US President Donald Trump puts pressure on the government in Riyadh after the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Chashukchi.
“It’s a very sad situation, it’s a very bad situation,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House. “We can not let that happen, not with a reporter, not with anyone.” The US president called for Riyadh intelligence: he wanted to see information from the Saudi government – “and we want to see what’s going on . “
The case of the journalist is a test of US-Saudi Arabia relations. Under Trump, the relationship between Washington and the Saudi royal family has improved significantly after it cooled off under its predecessor, Barack Obama.
The White House said that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor John Bolton spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about Hashkuchi. Subsequently, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo had once again been in contact with him. All three called for more details from the Saudi government and called for them to be transparent in the investigation.
The 59-year-old Hashuchi had entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul more than a week ago and has been missing ever since. According to media reports, Turkish police and government circles assume that he was murdered at the consulate. Saudi Arabia rejects the allegations and promised to clarify the case.
Chashukchi had gone into exile in the US more than a year ago for fear of political persecution. There he wrote articles for the “Washington Post”, which he drew with Jamal Kashoggi.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that US intelligence agents had intercepted a conversation by Saudi officials in which they had talked about a plan to lure Khao Kuchi to Saudi Arabia and arrest him there. The newspaper relied in the report on persons who were familiar with the intelligence information. This information is another indication that implies that the Saudi regime is involved in the disappearance of the journalist, the newspaper wrote.
Deputy spokesman for the United States Secretary of State, Robert Palladino, said Wednesday afternoon that he could definitely rule out that the US government had known ahead of Chashukchi’s impending disappearance. Asked by a journalist if the government knew anything about the threat to Hashuchi, if he went to the consulate, Palladino said, “We had no prior knowledge.”