US President Donald Trump is demanding answers from Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of a well-known Saudi writer and government critic. Turkish authorities say Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul.
Mr Trump said he plans to invite the fiancee of Mr Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post who has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate on October 2 to get paperwork for his marriage, to the White House.
Members of Congress have grown increasingly insistent in recent days that the Trump administration get to the bottom of the disappearance. Mr Khashoggi had apparently drawn the wrath of the Saudi government, which has become an ever-closer US ally under Mr Trump, now leaving the US administration in a delicate position.
Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he has a call in to Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.
He said nobody knows exactly what happened and expressed hope that Mr Khashoggi is not dead.
Mr Trump also said he had spoken with the Saudis about what he called a “bad situation”, but he did not disclose details of his conversations. Saudi Arabia denies involvement in Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Angry US congressmen and women are not likely to cause the administration to turn away from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
But they could throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the US scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.