Gerard Butler explains why he canceled Saudi Arabia trip amid Khashoggi's disappearance

Leroy Wright
October 16, 2018

The CNN report comes hours after President Donald Trump told reporters that King Salman of Saudi Arabia strongly denied his government had any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance and said "rogue killers" could be responsible.

But no one in Washington, D.C., has ever been at a cocktail party with a starving Yemeni child, and so Riyadh's offenses against such children did not threaten the U.S. -Saudi alliance.

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi - a Washington Post contributor who was critical of Prince Mohammed's policies - was killed inside the mission, and lurid claims have even been leaked that he was tortured and even dismembered. The statement did not elaborate, but a Saudi-owned satellite channel later suggested the world's largest oil exporter could wield that production as a weapon against America. "Who knows?" the president said, describing the situation as "terrible". One security official told The New York Times that a squad of 15 Saudi men arrived in Istanbul and killed Khashoggi. On October 2, Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate with his fiancée to get documents proving his divorce.

Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations.

The admission would mark a departure from the kingdom's repeated insistence that it had no knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi, who was picking up paperwork needed to marry his fiancée.

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it", Mr Trump said.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia's currency fell to its lowest level in two years over fears that foreign investment inflows could shrink. "From the standpoint of jobs, economic development, a lot of other reasons, I would like to do something where we could maybe look at other things [than canceling the deal]".

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The UK, Germany and France have demanded a credible investigation into the disappearance.

The crown prince, ambitious, aggressive and just 33 in a kingdom long ruled by aging monarchs, has considerable weight in Saudi government actions. Two leading Republican senators said Congress stands ready to act, including a possible halt of military sales, if President Donald Trump doesn't.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be hard, but we believe we will obtain evidence", a Turkish official told Reuters.

Speaking in Toronto Monday, Trudeau said Canada will not be silenced by human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia and its leader, Mohammad Bin Salman - the young crown prince who has sought to modernize his deeply religious country but has bristled at criticism from overseas.

The Arab News' headline was above a front-page editorial by Dubai-based real-estate tycoon Khalaf al-Habtoor, calling on Gulf Arab nations to boycott global firms now backing out of a planned economic summit in Riyadh later this month.

Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, criticising its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving.

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