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Trump ‘concerned’ about disappearance of Saudi journalist in Turkey

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US President Donald Trump has expressed concern over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, refraining from any strong comments against its allies in Riyadh.

“I am concerned about it. I don’t like hearing about it,” Trump told reporters on Monday at the White House.

“Hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now nobody knows anything about it,” he added.

US Vice-President Mike Pence had earlier noted that he was “deeply troubled to hear reports about Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

“If true, this is a tragic day. Violence against journalists across the globe is a threat to freedom of the press and human rights. The free world deserves answers,” he said in a tweet on Monday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called on the Saudi government on Monday to support “a thorough investigation” of Khashoggi’s disappearance, and to be transparent on its results.

With about a week after the disappearance of the prominent journalist, his case is still shrouded in a veil of mystery.

Khashoggi, 59, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on the dissent.

He was seeking to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

His fiancée waited outside the consulate for hours without hearing from him, prompting her to report his disappearance to Istanbul police. Ankara says there is no proof he left the diplomatic mission.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday Saudi Arabia’s consulate must “prove” that Khashoggi made exit from the mission.

“The Saudi Consulate officials in Istanbul can’t get away with [simply] saying ‘he left the building.’ The claimants are obligated to prove their claims. If he left the building, then you need to prove it,” the Turkish leader said.

Media reports on Monday also said that Ankara sought permission from Riyadh to search Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Ankara’s search request was made after the foreign ministry summoned the Saudi ambassador for a second time Sunday over the Khashoggi’s disappearance.

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