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Trump says he spoke with Saudi king, sending Pompeo for meeting

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday said he has spoken with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman about missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that he was sending U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the king immediately.

Trump also said Salman denied “any knowledge of whatever may have happened” to Khashoggi, who disappeared after he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and told him the Saudis are working closely with Turkey on the case.

Saudi Arabia warned Sunday it would retaliate against any sanctions imposed on the oil-rich kingdom over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the Riyadh stock market plunged on growing investor jitters.

From tech tycoons to media giants, a host of Western companies are now distancing themselves from the Gulf state, imperilling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s much-hyped economic reform drive.

US President Donald Trump threatened ally Saudi Arabia on Saturday with “severe punishment” if Khashoggi, who has been critical of Prince Mohammed, was killed inside its Istanbul mission.

But Riyadh vowed to hit back against any punitive measures.

“The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure,” an official source said, quoted by state news agency SPA.

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