Press TV – President Donald Trump has said Washington intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure interests of the United States, Israel and regional partners.
Trump said that it is possible that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had knowledge of the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a statement issued by the White House on Tuesday.
Trump said that “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
“That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he insisted.
“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!” he added.
He mentioned that Saudi Arabia had “agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States.”
“Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!” he pointed out.
He acknowledged that the “crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone,” but implied that due to the murder of a journalist Washington cannot cancel such lucrative business deals with the kingdom.
Some US senators have called on Trump to cancel arms deals with Saudi Arabia as a punishment over the murder of Khashoggi — a US resident who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 after being lured into the mission for some standard paperwork.
While mounting evidence released by Turkey and even the CIA point to bin Salman’s role in the murder, Trump had resisted calls inside Washington to hold him responsible.
In an attempt to ease the criticism, the US Treasury Department imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudis involved in the murder on Thursday.
The sanctions came after the Saudi public prosecutor announced that five officials faced a possible death sentence in the case but exonerated bin Salman, also known as MBS.