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Trump to discuss journalist Khashoggi's disappearance with Saudi King

ANI  |  Washington D.C. [USA] 

told reporters on Friday that he will call Saudi concerning the disappearance of

"I will be calling him, I will be calling at some point Salman," Trump said on Friday when asked if he has talked to the about the matter.

Trump stressed that Khashoggi's disappearance is a serious problem and US officials are looking "very hard" to get answers. It is potentially a really terrible situation, he added.

has been missing since October 2, when he visited the in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage. Turkish authorities have reportedly said Khashoggi was murdered at the consulate, but has denied the allegations. On Friday, the Bahraini and foreign ministries announced their support for Riyadh, claiming that the accusations are an attempt to defame

According to analysts in US, Trump is likely to block any sanctions that US Congress may try to impose on over missing Khashoggi, although the administration may be forced to take at least symbolic action amid ever burgeoning outrage.

Trump is facing increasing domestic pressure to take action against the Saudis in recent days. US Senate Foreign Relations Chairman on Thursday requested a Global Magnitsky Act investigation and said should impose sanctions on Saudi officials at the highest levels if they are responsible for the journalist's disappearance.

Many other lawmakers have called on Trump to freeze arms sales and end all support for the Saudi-led coalition's war in because of the incident.

Trump, for his part, told reporters on Friday that he would call the Saudis about the matter because it is "potentially" a really terrible situation. Trump on Thursday, however, said he would not support any move to halt arms sales to the Saudis which generate $110 billion annually for US businesses.

Meanwhile, in claimed that the is drawing up a list of Saudi security and government officials on whom sanctions might be imposed pending the results of the probe into the high-profile disappearance of Khashoggi.

The list could be used if decided to resort to the so-called Magnitsky amendment which allowed the to introduce sanctions against foreign officials accused of human rights violations, newspaper reported, citing a source close to both and London, on Friday.

"Instructions were given to Treasury and others to identify potential targets for sanctions if it is necessary, which I now am told has geared up considerably in the past 48 hours," the source, who is a former government briefed on the matter by a and others, said.

The source added that the idea to draw up a Saudi sanctions list initially was a "position-paper scenario" but it was subsequently being looked at as a real possibility.

Khashoggi, known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia's policies, has recently been working for the US Post newspaper. The journalist went missing in on October 2. According to his fiancee, Khashoggi was invited to the in Istanbul but never left the diplomatic mission's building.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 13 2018. 17:55 IST