Trump indicates US won't halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over journalist's disappearance

Jamal Khashoggi hasn't been seen since entering the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month

Trump indicates US won't halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over journalist's disappearance

Picture by: Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has indicated that the US won't stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite the disappearance of a journalist.

Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi hasn't been seen since entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd.

Media outlets, quoting Turkish officials, have widely reported that the writer may have been killed in the consulate - as well as claims that a 15-person team from Saudi Arabia had travelled to the consulate before the disappearance.

Mr Khashoggi - who had been based in the US - has been highly criticial of the Saudi regime and powerful crown prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia has described the allegations that Mr Kashoggi was killed in the consulate as 'baseless'.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, has reported that Turkish officials claim to have audio and video recordings supporting their belief that Mr Khashoggi was killed.

Speaking in the White House yesterday, President Trump said the US is working with Turkey and Saudia Arabia to find out what happened.

However, he backed away from the prospect of cutting trade - including sales of military equipment - with the kingdom over the issue.

'A thing like that shouldn't happen'

President Trump told reporters: "I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States. Because you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China, or someplace else.

"So I think there are other ways. If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling the situation."

He added: "It’s not our country. It’s in Turkey, and it’s not a citizen, as I understand it. But a thing like that shouldn’t happen."

The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has prompted some organisations and individuals to cut ties with Saudi Arabia.

British billionaire Richard Branson has said he's suspended talks with Saudi Arabia over investment in Virgin's space companies, as well as temporarily halted his role in two tourism projects around the Red Sea.

He observed: "What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Government."

A group of US senators from across both main political parties have ordered an investigation into Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.