“Saudi’s explanation credible, what happened unacceptable” – Trump’s first reaction
US President Donald Trump said that Saudi Arabia’s explanation was credible, adding that what happened was unacceptable.
US President :
US President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia’s explanation for how Khashoggi was killed was credible, adding what happened at the consulate is “unacceptable”. Speaking to reporters at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, he said Khashoggi’s death was a “horrible event” that has not gone “unnoticed”, but he noted the announcement on the circumstances of the journalist’s death was a “good first step”. “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, but what happened is unacceptable,” Trump said. He also said he prefers any sanctions against Riyadh not include cancelling multi-billion dollar defence deals.
Earlier, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Washington acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s announcement and was “closely” following the developments.”We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process,” Sanders said. “We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancee, and friends.”
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, is “deeply troubled” by Riyadh’s confirmation of Khashoggi’s death, according to a spokesperson. The UN chief called for a “prompt, thorough, transparent” probe into the circumstances of the killing and urged full accountability for those who were involved. “The secretary-general is deeply troubled by the confirmation of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. He extends his condolences to Mr Khashoggi’s family and friends,” Guterres’s office said in a statement. “The secretary-general stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s death and full accountability for those responsible.”
Earlier in his presidency, President Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy. He spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110bn (£84bn) arms deal he signed with the kingdom. “I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution,” he said. Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, he replied, “I do.” Earlier this week Mr Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.