Trump defends Saudi Arabia ties despite Khashoggi murder

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US President Donald Trump has strongly defended ties with Saudi Arabia despite international condemnation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

The kingdom is a “steadfast partner” that has agreed to invest “a record amount of money” in the US, Mr Trump said in a statement.

The president acknowledged Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “could very well” have known about Khashoggi’s murder.

“In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.



Mr Khashoggi was murdered on 2 October on a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing on rogue agents but denied claims that the crown prince had knowledge of the operation.

US media have reported that the CIA believes Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder.

Mr Trump’s statement said: “[It] could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

Later on Tuesday, Mr Trump said that the CIA had not made a “100%” determination on the killing.

In an interview on Sunday, the president told Fox News that he had refused to listen to a recording of Khashoggi’s murder provided by Turkey, calling it “a suffering tape”.

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