WASHINGTON — The publisher and CEO of The Washington Post said “it is essential that our own government and others push harder for the truth” about Jamal Khashoggi, the columnist whose disappearance since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has created an international uproar.
Turkish officials say Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, was murdered and dismembered. He hasn’t been seen since he entered the consulate on Oct. 2.
In a statement, Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said “the Saudi government can no longer remain silent, and it is essential that our own government and others push harder for the truth. Until we have a full account and full accountability, it cannot be business as usual with the Saudi government.”
A number of corporations have canceled plans to attend a global finance conference in Saudi Arabia next week, including CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times. Endeavor is exploring whether to back out of a $400 million deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
In his statement, Ryan said, “it has been two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The government of Saudi Arabia owes the Khashoggi family and the world a full and honest explanation of everything that happened to him, and we support the requests from Jama’s family and the United Nations for an independent international investigation.”
President Donald Trump said Tuesday on Twitter that he spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and that he “totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish consulate.”
Trump wrote, “He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that at the meeting, Pompeo “thanked the King for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.”
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin is also facing pressure to back out of the investment conference next week, and Trump has said he would make a final decision on whether to participate by Friday.
“Secretary Mnuchin should not be going to Riyadh,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) wrote on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.