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Wednesday 21 Nov 2018 10.14 AM

Won't 'abandon' Saudi over Khashoggi killing: Trump

Saudi, Trump, Khashoggi,  Killing

Washington : US President Donald Trump has defended his decision not to hold Saudi rulers accountable in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying maintaining strategic ties with the kingdom and keeping the global oil prices down were in the best interest of America. The death of Khashoggi, a onetime insider turned critic of the crown prince and a resident of the US, has spurred a wave of international anger against Saudi Arabia and its rulers.

The US last week imposed sanctions on 17 individuals of Saudi Arabia for serious human rights abuse resulting from their roles in the killing of Khashoggi at the kingdom's Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. "Because it's America first to me," Trump told reporters, adding that despite Khashoggi's murder, the US will remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia to ensure its interests as well as those of Israel and all other partners in the region.

"It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!" he said in a statement that immediately drew sharp criticism from his political opponents. "I'm shocked that President Trump said there will be no punishment for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said as she and several other lawmakers announced their plan to bring in legislations to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Responding to questions from reporters at the White House before leaving for Florida to spend his Thanksgiving holidays, Trump said his decision was all about America first. PTI

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