Describing the circumstances around Jamal Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi Consulate General as “unacceptable,” US President Donald Trump told reporters that the matter should be handled with care because Riyadh was a crucial ally against Iran and billions of dollars in arms sales were at stake.
“Saudi Arabia has been a great ally but what happened is unacceptable. I would prefer if there is going to be some form of sanction, or what we may determine to do if anything. But I would prefer that we don’t use as retribution, canceling the $110 billion-worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs,” he said.
Statement on Saudi Arabia Investigation: pic.twitter.com/DjBdwZAGAi— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) 19 октября 2018 г.
“They [Saudis] have been a great ally in the Middle East. We need them as a counter-balance to Iran. So it’s not the simplest solution. It’s not the simplest solution to be in,” Trump reiterated, at the same time praising the kingdom for arresting nearly two dozen Saudi nationals as part of the investigation as a “big step.”
The confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi’s death by the Saudi prosecutor general comes after weeks of reports that the journalist, who went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, could have been abducted or murdered inside the building.
Amid the ongoing probe, Saudi authorities have announced the detention of 18 Saudi nationals suspected in the assassination of The Washington Post columnist.